Mainland China and Hong Kong shares finished higher on Monday, on the back of gold and non-ferrous metal stocks, with equity investors continuing to digest Beijing's latest measures to rescue its beleaguered property sector that has been a key drag on the world's second-largest economy.


** Beijing announced "historic" steps on Friday to stabilise its crisis-hit property sector, with the central bank facilitating in extra funding and easing mortgage rules, and local governments set to buy some apartments.

** Property shares gave up earlier intraday gains, with the CSI real estate sub-index closing 1.23% lower.

** "We believe Beijing is headed in the right direction with regard to ending the epic housing crisis," said Ting Lu, chief China economist at Nomura. "This is proving to be a daunting task and we think markets need to exercise more patience when awaiting more draconian measures."

** At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.54% at 3,171.15 points, the highest close since Sept. 2023. The blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.35% at 3,690.96 points, the loftiest close since Oct. 2023.

** The smaller Shenzhen index ended 0.47% higher and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 0.589%.

** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up 82.61 points, or 0.42%, at 19,636.22 points, the highest closing level since Aug. 2023. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 0.44% to 6,964.99.

** Gold stocks outperformed the markets as investors snapped up shares tied to the high-flying precious metal. Zijing Mining Group Co Ltd,, Shandong Gold Mining Co Ltd , and Zhongjin Gold Corp Ltd all rose more than 3% each at the close. CSI non-ferrous metal sub-index gained 3.82%.

** Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.3%, and Japan's Nikkei index closed 0.73% higher.

** The yuan was quoted at 7.2314 per U.S. dollar at 0811 GMT, 0.08% weaker than the previous close of 7.2254.

(Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Sohini Goswami and Krishna Chandra Eluri)