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Brokerages help stocks continue upwards

SHANGHAI'S key stock index continued the momentum of last week and climbed nearly 3 percent led by strong performances by brokerages.

The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 2.96 percent, or 68.59 points, to 2,389.39 points. Turnover was 177.9 billion yuan (US$26 billion). Gainers outnumbered losers 660 to 196 and 52 remained unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was up 1.87 percent, or 13.99 points, to 763.30 points.

Citic Securities, the brokerage unit of China's biggest investment company, hiked 4.13 percent to 26.47 yuan. Haitong Securities Co was up 4.17 percent to 14.49 yuan. Changjiang Securities Co climbed 6.00 percent to 15.20 yuan.

Crude oil jumped 10 percent to US$37.51 a barrel on Feb 13, its first gain in six days and the largest daily increase since January 21, as traders who had been betting on further declines bought oil to limit losses during the three-day Presidents' Day holiday weekend in the United States.

PetroChina, the nation's biggest oil company and also the largest component index, advanced 3.58 percent to 12.16 yuan. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, Asia's biggest oil refiner, added 3.58 percent to close at 9.27 yuan.

Air carriers were also strong. China's air-passenger volume gained the most in a year last month as domestic carriers flew more people during the Lunar New Year holidays. Passenger numbers gained 18 percent from a year earlier to reach 17.5 million in January, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said on February 13.

China Eastern Airlines Corp advanced 4.14 percent to 5.79 yuan. Air China Ltd, the nation's largest international carrier, advanced 5.95 percent to 5.70 yuan. China Southern Airlines Co Ltd surged hiked 9.61 percent to 5.02 yuan.

Elsewhere, Chongqing Changan Automobile Co resumed trading after being suspended for over 4 months because of on-going transactions. Its shares surged the 10 percent daily cap to 4.04 yuan after saying it will ask shareholders for approval to buy back at most 423 million foreign-currency shares.

Baoshan Iron & Steel Co soared 9.93 percent to 6.42 yuan after saying it plans to sell as much as 20 billion yuan of debt in the nation's interbank market.


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