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Agriculture nudges up Shanghai index at midday

SHANGHAI'S key stock index edged up in the first morning trade of the Chinese Lunar New Year, with the main gains in agricultural companies.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index increased 0.51 percent, or 10.20 points, to close at 2,000.86 points at 11:30am. Turnover was 31.1 billion yuan (US$4.56 billion). Winners outnumbered losers 704 to 146, with 58 stocks unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was up 1.22 percent to close at 617.70 points.

Premier Wen Jiabao told the Financial Times in London on Sunday the government may implement more measures to boost its economy in addition to the 4 trillion yuan package already announced.

On Sunday the central government issued the guideline for agricultural development this year and pledged to make steady rural and agricultural development a priority, to ensure the supply of farm products and to guarantee the income for farmers.

Agricultural companies had an overall good performance. Gansu Yasheng Industrial (Group) Co Ltd made the daily limit of a 10 percent gain to 3.74 yuan. Xinjiang Talimu Agriculture Development Co Ltd increased 3.92 percent to 8.75 yuan. Beijing Shunxin Agriculture Co Ltd added 3.35 percent to 12.66 yuan.

Banks showed mixed performance. The China Merchants Bank Co, the nation's fifth-largest bank by market value, was up 0.52 percent to 13.58 yuan. The China Construction Bank edged up 0.50 percent to 4.02 yuan. The Bank of China dipped 0.33 percent to 3.05 yuan. The Shanghai Pudong Development Bank lowered 2.28 percent to 16.31 yuan.

"We suppose the A shares will remain in adjustment after they gained in the seven days before the Chinese New Year holiday," said a research note by Changjiang Securities. "Investors shall not be too optimistic before the economic situation shows signs of recovery."

Sany Heavy Industry Co, China's biggest concrete-handling machinery maker, will invest US$128 million to build a machinery production plant and research center in Germany, according to a report by the Securities Times. Its shares increased 1.13 percent to 5.77 yuan.

Yanzhou Coal Mining Co, China's fourth largest coal miner, said it may buy back as much as 10 percent of the company's Hong Kong listed shares. The stock lost 2.84 per cent to 9.92 yuan.


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