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China stocks little changed ahead of party congress, GDP data

SHANGHAI, Oct 17 (Reuters) - China stocks ended little changed on Tuesday as investors awaited key mainland economic data and a major leadership summit later in the week, though resources firms posted losses on concerns the sector's recent rally may be over.

The blue-chip CSI300 index was unchanged at 3,913.07 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2 percent to 3,372.04 points.

For the day, most sectors were little changed although resource firms dragged, with the materials industry losing 1 percent, reflecting market views that the sector's 30 percent surge this year - fuelled by capacity cuts and a jump in commodity prices - has run its course.

Blue-chip sectors in which the government controls sizeable stakes, such as financials and utilities , held steady.

Chinese authorities are keen to see stability in financial markets heading into the twice-a-decade party congress starting on Wednesday, where President Xi Jinping is expected to lay out new policy initiatives and further consolidate his power for his second five-year term.

The central bank injected 190 billion yuan ($28.73 billion) into the interbank market, a move apparently aimed at easing liquidity concerns after China's benchmark 10-year treasury yield climbed above 3.7 percent on Monday to its highest level this year.

Markets are also awaiting third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data on Thursday and will be closely watching for any signs of a long-expected slowdown after a strong first half.

Economists polled by Reuters expect economic growth dipped marginally to 6.8 percent in the third quarter from 6.9 percent in the previous quarter as government crackdowns on debt risks and speculation in the housing market start to bite.

UBS strategist Gao Ting also cited the prospects of high interest rates and government-mandated cuts in industrial production as risks to growth, advising investors in A-shares to stay balanced between cyclicals and defensive stocks.

Beijing has embarked on its toughest campaign yet to curb winter air pollution, ordering many mills and factories in northern areas to reduce output or shut altogether.

In another possible sign that economic growth rates may fade, government spending in China increased at the slowest pace in 11 months in September, after Beijing frontloaded most of its spending early in the year. ($1 = 6.6132 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch; Editing by Sam Holmes)