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China: Stocks close higher before holiday


[SHANGHAI] Chinese stocks closed up 1.00 per cent on Friday before a long holiday weekend, as investors continue to bet on further government measures to boost the economy.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 38.15 points to 3,863.93 on turnover of 635.7 billion yuan.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, jumped 1.83 per cent, or 37.37 points, to 2,080.40 on turnover of 602.2 billion yuan.

The Hong Kong stock market was closed on Friday. China's financial markets will be closed on Monday.

Chinese stocks have rallied since Premier Li Keqiang said last month that the government still has tools to boost the economy.

China's economy expanded an annual 7.4 per cent last year, the slowest in nearly a quarter of a century.

Investors have poured into the market on expectations of further monetary easing. The government has already cut interest rates twice since November and also lowered the amount of funds banks must place in reserve from February.

"With further policy catalysts and fund inflows, the market looks healthy," Dai Ming, a fund manager at Hengsheng Asset Management, told Bloomberg News. "There may be some profit-taking following the recent gains, but declines will be short-lived."

Some analysts have warned of a bubble but Chinese punters - many of them small retail investors - have jumped into the market out of fears of missing the rally.

Steel makers were among the biggest winners on Friday. Shanghai-listed Baoshan Iron and Steel rose 0.99 per cent to 7.15 yuan while Shenzhen-listed Hebei Iron and Steel surged its 10 per cent daily limit to 4.91 yuan.

SAIC Motor, China's largest automaker, powered up 2.62 per cent to 26.23 yuan in Shanghai after announcing its net profit rose 12.8 per cent last year.

In Shenzhen, brokerage Guoyuan Securities jumped 6.27 per cent to 36.42 yuan.


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