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Data propel barometer more than 3%

SHANGHAI'S key stock index soared more than 3 percent yesterday, the first trading day after the May Day break, to a nine-month high on hopes the global economy may be on a recovery path as some data have indicated.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 3.32 percent, or 82.34 points, to close at 2,559.91 points, the highest since August 8 when the index ended at 2,605.72 points. Gainers outnumbered losers 858 to 11 while 4 stocks were flat. Turnover rose to 146.56 billion yuan (US$21.55 billion) from 128.4 billion yuan on Thursday.

"Figures have shown signs of an economic recovery and stable performances in the surrounding markets have boosted investor confidence," said Wu Kongyin, an analyst at United Securities Co. "The index will be supported technically at between 2,320 and 2,360 points,"

The Purchasing Managers Index, a key indicator of activity in the manufacturing sector, rose for the fifth straight month in April to 53.5, the highest level in more than 10 months, from 52.4 in March. Readings above 50 indicate expansion while whose below signal contraction.

Steel producers led the gains on rising prices for major steel products, which triggered hopes of higher profits in the second quarter.

Xinjiang Ba Yi Iron & Steel Co jumped by the 10 percent daily cap to 8.55 yuan. Baoshan Iron & Steel Co, the listed arm of the country's largest steel group, surged 4.5 percent to 6.04 yuan. Handan Iron & Steel Co soared 5.26 percent to 4.4 yuan and Wuhan Iron and Steel Co gained 7.14 percent to 7.35 yuan.

Coal producers also rose after the government started closing or merging small coal mines, a move analysts said would reduce coal supply and bolster coal prices.

China Shenhua Energy Co jumped 7.93 percent to 26.69 yuan, Pingdingshan Tianan Coal Mining Co gained 7.87 percent to 26.85 yuan and Datong Coal Industry Co climbed by the 10-percent daily limit to close at 30.97 yuan.


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