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China: Stocks end firmer as investors switch into tech from property

[SHANGHAI] China stocks edged up on Monday, with investors rotating from property companies back into tech and healthcare, sectors that Beijing hopes will be new engines of growth.

The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.3 per cent, to 3,687.61, while the Shanghai Composite Index also gained 0.3 per cent, to 3,536.93 points.

But reflecting investor caution, trading volume in Shanghai shrank to a one-month low.

A slew of data in coming weeks is likely to show China's economic performance remains sluggish, reinforcing expectations that Beijing will implement more stimulus measures in coming months.

Investors appeared on Monday to favour sectors seen benefiting from a government-engineered economic restructuring, as Premier Li Keqiang vowed over the weekend to ruthlessly deal with "zombie" firms.

Shenzhen's start-up board ChiNext, which hosts many of China's hi-tech firms, jumped nearly 2 per cent, while an index tracking major healthcare companies advanced 2.1 per cent, with traditional Chinese medicine maker Beijing Tongrentang jumping the maximum allowed 10 per cent.

But property plays pulled back sharply after last week's rebound, which was triggered by a 33 per cent surge for China Vanke.

On Monday, Vanke slumped more than 5 per cent, after disclosing that the recent jump was the result of Shenzhen Jushenghua Co buying additional shares, and becoming Vanke's top shareholder.

CITIC Securities fell 1.8 per cent. The company said on Sunday that it was not able to contact two of its top executives, following media reports that they had been asked by authorities to assist in an investigation.