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Auto makers drive key stock index to advance

SHANGHAI'S key stock index gained more than 1 percent at the close yesterday, led by car makers after domestic automobile sales rose to a record.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.38 percent, or 32.49 points, to close at 2,379.88. Turnover shrank to 106.66 billion yuan (US$15.69 billion) from 135.64 billion yuan on Wednesday.

"The weak performances of heavyweight blue chips restrained the rebound of the index," said Wu Kongyin, an analyst at United Securities Co. "Transaction volume continued to drop, reflecting a wait-and-see sentiment in the market."

Auto makers led the gainers after China's automobile sales rose to a record of 1.11 million vehicles last month as government policies stimulated demand.

SAIC Motor Co, China's largest car maker, added 1.07 percent to 9.48 yuan. FAW Car Co, a Chinese partner of Mazda Motor Corp, gained 0.76 percent to 11.95 yuan. Chongqing Chang'an Automobile Co rose 0.69 percent to 7.31 yuan.

Ping An Insurance (Group) Co, China's second-biggest insurer, surged 5.95 percent to close at 41.13 yuan.


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