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Copper gives market investors a boost

COPPER producers pushed Shanghai's key stock index to an almost four-week high on expectations that higher commodity prices will help boost profits.

The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.24 percent, or 5.40 points, to close at 2,223.73 points at 3pm.

Turnover totaled 125.865 billion yuan (US$18.41 billion) and gainers numbered 561 against 231 losers.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was up 1.06 percent, or 7.75 points, to 737.43 points.

Jiangxi Copper and Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Co, the country's top two copper producers, rose more than 4 percent on speculation the government will purchase more of the metal. Western Mining Co, China's fourth-largest maker of zinc concentrate, added 6.54 percent.

Copper purchases by China to boost stockpiles may flip the global market from surplus into deficit this year, boosting prices already underpinned by stimulus spending, according to China International Capital Corp, the nation's biggest investment bank.

Elsewhere, drug producers also rallied.

North China Pharmaceutical Co climbed 3.02 percent to 9.88 yuan after China Business News said the government may publish its 850-billion-yuan health-care spending plan as early as this week.

Shanghai Pharmaceutical Co gained 1.58 percent to 8.99 yuan.
Tianjin Tianyao Pharmaceutical Co added 0.89 percent to 7.91 yuan.

The money will be spent reforming the country's medical and health-care system over three years, according to a statement posted on the central government's Website on January 21.


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