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Index extends gains to close at 3,235

SHANGHAI'S key stock index extended gains today after a measure of China's manufacturing activities indicated the country's industrial production is improving steadily.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.25 percent, or 40.06 points, to close at 3,235.36 points. Turnover swelled to 191.2 billion yuan (US$28.1 billion) from 160 billion yuan on Monday. Gainers outnumbered losers 846 to 38 and 6 stocks remained unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, added 2.25 percent to close at 1,212.6 points.

The Purchasing Managers Index, which includes forward-looking elements such as orders for future sales, settled at 55.2 last month, the same as in October and the highest in 18 months, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said today.

The PMI has been above 50 for nine straight months. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Consumer-related shares remained strong after the government's call to boost consumption by expanding the use of credit and online shopping. Media reports today quoted a commerce ministry official as saying China's retail sales may rise 15.6 percent this year from 2008.

Qingdao Aucma Company surged by 10 percent to 7.56 yuan. Beijing Hualian Hypermarket Co gained 5.9 percent to 9.69 yuan. Shanghai Bailian Group Group jumped 2.9 percent to 17.92 yuan.

Steel producers were among the gainers. Baoshan Iron & Steel Co soared 7.8 percent to 8.81 yuan. Xinjiang Ba Yi Iron & Steel Co increased 2.3 percent to 13.96 yuan. Wuhan Iron and Steel advanced 3.9 percent to 8.44 yuan.

Zijin Mining Group expanded 7.2 percent to 10.72 yuan after saying it took over Australian miner Indophil Resources and tapped a 37.5 percent stake in Southeast Asia's largest undeveloped copper-gold deposit.

China Eastern Airlines Corp, the nation's No. 3 carrier, rallied 2.4 percent to 6.30 yuan after saying said it won approval from China's securities regulator to take over its smaller rival Shanghai Airlines Co, creating the nation's second-biggest carrier. Shanghai Air climbed 2.2 percent to 6.96 yuan.


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