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Financials

Healthcare, consumer firms drag China shares; cost woes hit hog-farming stocks

* SSEC -1.0%, CSI300 -1.1%, HSI -1.6%

* HK->Shanghai Connect daily quota used -2.3%, Shanghai->HK daily quota used 2.7%

* FTSE China A50 -1.3%

BEIJING/SHANGHAI,Sept 17 (Reuters) - China shares dropped on Thursday, with healthcare and consumer firms leading the losses for a second consecutive session as investors took a breather after recent sharp gains, while weakness in hog-farming companies dragged agriculture stocks. ** At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.99% at 3,251.47, while the blue-chip CSI300 index was down 1.12% at 4,605.26. ** Healthcare and consumer sector shares fell with the consumer staples sector losing 2.78% and the healthcare sub-index down 2.81%. ** Shares in China’s major hog-farming companies also dropped on worries over rising costs after corn prices spiked. The agricultural sub-index was down 2.62%. ** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong fell 1.31% to 9,716.89, while the Hang Seng Index was down 1.61% at 24,327.67. ** The smaller Shenzhen index was down 0.81%, the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 1.09% and Shanghai’s tech-focused STAR50 index was up 1.08%. ** High tech and healthcare valuation could sink those stocks in the short term, while investors are set to focus on underpriced shares as country’s economic momentum picks up, Founder Securities Co’ analysts said in a note. ** Despite challenges and lingering uncertainties on resurgence of the pandemic, China’s economy is set to grow this year despite fallout from the coronavirus, Premier Li Keqiang said at an online event hosted by the World Economic Forum late Tuesday. ** On the global front, U.S. Federal Reserve pledged to keep interest rates low for a long time but stopped short of offering further stimulus to shore up a battered U.S. economy. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.58% while Japan’s Nikkei index was down 0.61%. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.7779 per U.S. dollar, 0.32% weaker than the previous close of 6.756.

Reporting by Cheng Leng in Beijing, Luoyan Liu and Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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