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Market surges on plan to lift health care

SHANGHAI'S key stock index closed higher yesterday, the first trading day after the brief tomb-sweeping break, thanks to pharmaceutical companies after an updated plan for health care reform was unveiled.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.8 percent to close at 2,439.18 points. Turnover shrank to 116.79 billion yuan (US$17.18 billion) from 157.2 billion yuan on Friday.

China unveiled an 850-billion yuan plan for health care reform, which aims to lay a solid foundation for universal access to essential health care for all. The three-year plan includes an essential-drug system and improved primary health care facilities.

"Detailed information about the public health plan is still to be announced," Shen-yin and Wanguo Securities Co wrote in a research note. "Market sentiment is getting increasingly weak due to a lack of strong momentum to lead the index up or down."

The brokerage predicted the index would fluctuate between 2,400 to 2,450.

Pharmaceutical companies performed well due to the reform plan. Jilin Zixin Pharmaceutical Industrial Co jumped 6.03 percent to 17.06 yuan. Jiangsu NHWA Pharmaceutical Co advanced 3.89 percent to 18.18 yuan. Renhe Pharmacy Co surged 10 percent to 12.98 yuan.

Shares of coal producers gained as coal inventories dropped at major domestic ports and electricity production climbed. China Shenhua Energy Co added 5.34 percent to 22.3 yuan. Datong Coal Industry Co was up 4.11 percent to 21.26 yuan. China Coal Energy Co climbed 10 percent to 10.11 yuan.

"Market focus shifted back to corporate earnings from the G20 Summit last week and there are increasing expectations about the macroeconomic figures for last month. The results to be released will exert impact on the market but until then we may not see a large volume of trades," Haitong Securities wrote in a note.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China was up 0.98 percent to 4.11 yuan. China Merchants Bank Co dropped 1.42 percent to 16.63 yuan and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank fell 1.71 percent to 21.89 yuan.


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