Equities rise to 8-week high on reform hopes

Updated: 2015-10-16 09:11

(China Daily)

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Benchmark index gains 2.3% on strong demand for telecom and technology shares

Chinese stocks rose to an eight-week high as a government plan to reorganize the telecom industry raised speculation policymakers will accelerate reforms of State-owned companies to stem slowing economic growth.

The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 2.3 percent to 3,338.07 points at the close, the highest level since Aug 21. The CSI 300 Index gained 2.4 percent. China United Network Communications Ltd and China Mobile Ltd gained at least 2.7 percent after the government injected 231.4 billion yuan ($36 billion) of network assets such as base stations into a new company called China Tower Corp.

There is "speculation regarding another wave of SOE reform", said Gerry Alfonso, a sales trader at Shenwan Hongyuan Group Co in Shanghai. "The economy is slowing down and a clear, but challenging way of supporting the economy would be to speed up the SOE reform. SOE reform remains one of the most solid investment themes."

Hong Kong's Hang Seng China Enterprises Index advanced 2.1 percent, while the Hang Seng Index added 2 percent.

The Shanghai Composite Index has rebounded 14 percent from an August low amid speculation that policymakers will introduce more measures to boost growth after a rout in equities that erased almost $5 trillion of market value. Data released this week showed consumer prices rose at a slower-than-estimated pace in September, leaving more room to ease monetary policy.

Trading volumes in the Shanghai market were 7 percent higher than the 30-day average on Thursday. Volumes rose to the highest in a month and margin debt expanded the most since Dec 8 on Monday as the rally lured investors back to the market.

Official data due on Monday will show China's economy grew 6.8 percent in the third quarter, the slowest pace since March 2009, according to the median estimate of 25 economists in a Bloomberg survey. The government's growth target for this year is 7 percent.

Gauges of telecom and technology stocks led gains in industry groups on the CSI 300. Dr. Peng Telecom & Media Group Co climbed 4.7 percent while Suning Commerce Group Co, China's biggest electronics retailer, rose 4.9 percent.

The Communist Party of China Central Committee will hold a key meeting during Oct 26-29 to deliberate on an economic and social development plan for China over the next five years, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Margin traders increased holdings of shares purchased with borrowed money for a fifth day on Wednesday, the longest expansion since the seven days through Aug 17. The outstanding balance of margin debt on the Shanghai Stock Exchange rose to 595.5 billion yuan.

The People's Bank of China, the central bank, said after the market close that aggregate financing rose to 1.3 trillion yuan in September, from an originally reported 1.08 trillion yuan a month earlier. That exceeded the median estimate of 1.2 trillion yuan in a survey of economists.