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Manufacturing boost spurs market optimism at midday

SHANGHAI'S key stock index soared in the morning session after a manufacturing index climbed for a third month, an early sign of economic recovery.

The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 2.66 percent, or 55.12 points, to 2,126.55 points.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was up 3.86 percent, or 25.98 points, to 699.83 points.

The Purchasing Manager's Index rose to a seasonally adjusted 49 in February from 45.3 in January, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said today. A reading below 50 indicates a contraction.

Output and new orders expanded for the first time in five months, evidence that a 4 trillion yuan (US$585 billion) stimulus package is taking effect. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao may announce extra measures at the annual meeting of the National People's Congress, starting in Beijing tomorrow, to reverse the nation's economic slide.

Aluminum Corp of China gained 4.42 percent to 9.21 yuan. Jiangxi Copper Co added 6.9 percent to 16.26 yuan after the price of the metal advanced the most in three weeks.

Beijing Airport High-Tech Park Co, the builder of Beijing airport's industrial zone said 2008 profit rose 47 percent to 69.7 million yuan. Beijing Airport added 4.2 percent to 5.46 yuan.

China Life Insurance Co jumped 3.24 percent to 20.42 yuan. The country's largest insurer, is studying overseas acquisition targets, including banks, after deciding not to bid for the Asian unit of American International Group Inc, Chairman Yang Chao said yesterday in Beijing.

Chongqing Changan Automobile Co, climbed 5.67 percent to 2.98 yuan after saying it will buy back up to 423 million B-shares.

SDIC Huajing Power Holdings Co surged by 10 percent daily cap to 10.04 yuan. The power generation company said it will swap 7 billion yuan of shares for assets from its parent.


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