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Blue chips lift index to close nearly 3% higher

BLUE chips, fueled by investor confidence, helped the Shanghai stock index to extend last week's gains to close nearly 3 percent higher yesterday.

The key Shanghai Composite Index jumped 2.96 percent, or 68.6 points, to 2,389.39 points.

Gainers outnumbered losers 660 to 196 while 24 stocks were unchanged. Turnover rose from 164.5 billion yuan on Friday to 177.9 billion yuan (US$17.75 billion) - a record in nearly two months.

"The rebound may continue as shares were boosted by a record trading volume," Shanghai Securities Co wrote in a research note." The good performance of heavyweights pushed the index up but there may be risks of fluctuations amid profit taking."

Citic Securities gained 4.13 percent to 26.47 yuan while Changjiang Securities Co rose 6 percent to 15.2 yuan.

China Merchants Bank Co surged 7.56 percent to 15.93 yuan and Bank of China Ltd rose 5.64 percent to 3.56 yuan.

Higher crude prices boosted oil-related shares when China Oilfield Services Ltd jumped by the 10 percent daily limit to 15.3 yuan. PetroChina Co, the nation's biggest oil company, advanced 3.58 percent to 12.16 yuan and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, Asia's biggest oil refiner, climbed 3.58 percent to 9.27 yuan.

Air China Ltd, the nation's largest international carrier, added 1.12 percent to 5.44 yuan and China Southern Airlines Ltd surged 9.61 percent to 5.02 yuan.

Chongqing Chang'an Automobile Co surged by the 10 percent daily cap to 1.85 yuan. Its plan to buy back foreign-currency stock is pending shareholders' approval.


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