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Market looks healthier with new plan

SHANGHAI'S key stock index closed higher today with strong performances by pharmaceutical companies after an updated plan for health care reform was unveiled.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.8 percent, or 19.4 points, to close at 2,439.18 points. Turnover was 116.79 billion yuan (US$17.18 billion). Gainers outnumbered 618 to 235 and 21 remained unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was up 0.74 percent to close at 807.01 points.

China unveiled a three-year action plan on health care reform which will lay a solid foundation for universal access to essential health care for all.

The document, released by the State Council, said that the 850 billion yuan plan for 2009 to 2011 would provide universal access to basic health insurance, the introduction of an essential drug system, improved primary health care facilities, equitable access to basic public health services and a pilot reform of state-run hospitals.

Pharmaceutical companies were strong after the announcement. Jilin Zixin Pharmaceutical Industrial Co Ltd hiked 6.03 percent to 17.06 yuan. Jiangsu NHWA Pharmaceutical Co Ltd advanced 3.89 percent to 18.18 yuan. Renhe Pharmacy Co surged by 10 percent daily cap to 12.98 yuan. Beijing Tongrentang Co Ltd rose 2 percent to 16.36 yuan.

Banks had mixed performances. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the nation's biggest lender, was up 0.98 percent to 4.11 yuan. China Merchants Bank Co, the nation's fifth-largest bank by market value, dropped 1.42 percent to 16.63 yuan. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank lowered 1.71 percent to 21.89 yuan.

Shares of coal producers gained as coal inventories dropped at major domestic ports and electricity production climbed. China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd added 5.34 percent to 22.30 yuan. Datong Coal Industry Co Ltd was up 4.11 percent to 21.26 yuan. China Coal Energy Co Ltd climbed 10 percent to 10.11 yuan.

Property developers were among the losers. China Vanke Co, the nation's biggest listed real estate developer, dipped 0.92 percent to 8.59 yuan. Gemdale Corporation lost 1.93 percent to 11.18 yuan. China Merchants Property Development Co Ltd lost 2.61 percent to 21.62 yuan.


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