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Key index ends nearly 2% higher

SHANGHAI'S key stock index rebounded and finished nearly 2 percent higher yesterday, led by financial-related shares which surged on speculation over possible interest rate cuts after China posted a lower CPI level.

The Shanghai Composite Index added 1.88 percent, or 39.82 points, to close at 2,158.57 points. Turnover, however, shrank to 69.2 billion yuan (US$10.1 billion) from Monday's 103.7 billion yuan. Gainers outnumbered losers 817 to 59 and 32 shares were unchanged.

China's Consumer Price Index fell 1.6 percent in February from a year ago, the first drop in six years while the Producer Price Index shrank 4.5 percent, the most in a decade, the National Bureau of Statistics announced yesterday.

"The lower turnover, however, suggested that the market is still unstable and we predict the index to fluctuate around 2,100 points in the future," said Shenyin & Wanguo Securities.

Ping An Insurance (Group) Co, China's second-largest insurer, gained 4.83 percent to 34.52 yuan while China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co rose 3.60 percent to 14.10 yuan. Haitong Securities rallied 5.15 percent to 12.46 yuan and Sinolink Securities rose 2.43 percent to 28.70 yuan.

Banks were mixed as lower rates mean less profit for them. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the nation's biggest lender, added 0.54 percent to 3.72 yuan. China Merchants Bank Co shed 0.67 percent to 14.90 yuan. China Construction Bank rose 0.24 percent to 4.11 yuan.


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