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Commodity stocks help key index to edge up at the close

SHANGHAI'S key stock edged up at the close of trading yesterday as commodity producers gained from higher prices and investors took that as a sign an economic recovery would be on the way.

The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.24 percent, or 5.4 points, to 2,223.72 - nearly the highest within one month. Gainers outnumbered losers 600 to 239 while 37 stocks remained unchanged. Turnover continued to rise to 125.87 billion yuan (US$18.51 billion) from 112.23 billion yuan on Tuesday.

"Investor confidence is growing as the worst time seems to have passed with comforting financial figures released recently," Shenyin & Wanguo wrote in a research note. "But still the sluggish financial sector limited the rebound of the index."

The brokerage also cautioned that the index may decline in the near future as huge amounts of non-tradable shares are waiting to be unlocked into the market.

Qilu Securities Co wrote in a note that it forecast the barometer may meet some resistance between 2,250 points and 2,280 points.

Jiangxi Copper Co jumped 5.45 percent to 19.72 yuan while Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Co surged 4.59 percent to 11.40 yuan. Western Mining Co, China's fourth-largest maker of zinc concentrate, advanced 6.54 percent to 10.10 yuan.

PetroChina Co and other energy-related stocks also gained on expectations the recent rise in oil prices will help boost profits. PetroChina added 0.09 percent to 10.91 yuan while China Shenhua Energy Co edged up 0.25 percent to 19.75 yuan.

Elsewhere, drug producers also rallied on media reports that the government may unveil its 850-billion-yuan health-care spending plan as early as this week. North China Pharmaceutical Co climbed 3.02 percent to 9.88 yuan. Shanghai Pharmaceutical Co gained 1.58 percent to 8.99 yuan.

Decliners included China Life Insurance Co losing 1.14 percent to 21.67 yuan and China Merchants Bank Co off 0.8 percent to 14.86 yuan.


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