China, Hong Kong stocks rise on strong quarterly earnings, financials boost

* SSEC 0.1%, CSI300 0.2%, HSI 0.6%

* HK->Shanghai Connect daily quota used 100%, Shanghai->HK daily quota used 4%

* FTSE China A50 +0.7%

SHANGHAI, Oct 23 (Reuters) - China and Hong Kong stocks firmed on Friday morning, helped by gains in heavyweight financial firms and strong quarterly earnings so far.

** At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.13% at 3,316.87, while the blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.18%.

** Leading the gains, the CSI300 banks index climbed 1.8% to a more than three-month high.

** The smaller Shenzhen index was down 0.31%, the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 0.49% and Shanghai’s tech-focused STAR50 index was down 1.08%.

** Investors are closely watching corporate earnings in the third quarter.

** China’s corporate earnings had already improved in the second quarter, while the improvement trend continued more quickly in the third quarter, analysts at Dongxing Securities said in note.

** Earnings improvement would become a major driver behind stock performance as China has marginally tightened monetary policy, the brokerage added.

** Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Friday that China will never allow its sovereignty, security and development interests to be undermined, adding that the Chinese people are not to be trifled with.

** Market participants are also keeping an eye out on the U.S. election which is perceived as big uncertainty for the A-share market.

** U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden offered sharply contrasting views on the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic at Thursday’s final presidential debate, seeking to persuade the few remaining undecided voters 12 days before the Nov. 3 election.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.26% while Japan’s Nikkei index was up 0.34%.

** The yuan was quoted at 6.6834 per U.S. dollar, 0.02% firmer than the previous close of 6.685.

** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong rose 0.64% to 10,149.52, while the Hang Seng Index was up 0.62% at 24,938.85. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Rashmi Aich)