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Airlines help market take off at midday

SHANGHAI'S key stock index rose in the morning session today, led by airlines with a reported rise in fares.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.34 percent, or 33.55 points, to close at 2,537.49 points.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was up 1.3 percent to close at 856.81 points.

Chinese airlines will raise ticket prices from today, the state-run Central Television reported yesterday. Airlines will offer fewer discounts under a new ticket-pricing system, CCTV said. Ticket prices will increase by an average 20 percent.

Air China, the nation's largest international carrier, surged by the 10 percent daily cap to 7.38 yuan. China Southern Airlines Co, the nation's biggest carrier by fleet size, climbed 8.03 percent to 6.46 yuan. Hainan Airlines Co gained 7.44 percent to 6.21 yuan and Shanghai Airlines Co rose 5.06 percent to 4.98 yuan.

The stimulus plan has shown "better-than-expected" results in reviving growth and helping restore market confidence, Premier Wen Jiabao said at the Boao forum over the weekend.

China's economy grew 6.1 percent in the first quarter, urban fixed-asset investment and industrial productions expanded, and loans rose amid record car sales in March.

Haitong Securities Co advanced 1.16 percent to 14.01 yuan after a two-day suspension from April 16. The brokerage said first-quarter profit rose 11 percent from a year earlier.

Wuhan Iron & Steel Co, China's fifth-biggest steelmaker by value, dropped 1.22 percent to 7.3 yuan after it posted a lower profit in the first three months. The company said first-half net income will fall more than 50 percent from a year earlier.


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