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Morning market rises with earnings optimism

SHANGHAI'S key stock index reversed its losses and ended higher in the morning session, led by insurers on rises of first quarter corporate earnings.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.25 percent, or 6.24 points, to close at 2,470.19 points.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was up 0.42 percent to close at 828.70 points.

China Life Insurance Co, the nation's biggest insurer, added 1.36 percent to 23.82 yuan after saying first-quarter profit increased 55 percent to 5.4 billion yuan (US$790 million) as the stock market's rally this year boosted investment returns.

ZTE Corp, China's second-biggest phone-equipment maker, gained 1.07 percent to 37.80 yuan after its first-quarter profit rose 29 percent from a year earlier to 78.7 million yuan. Sales increased 35 percent as the nation's carriers bought more equipment for the new high-speed mobile phone networks.

Guangzhou Shipyard International Co, the smaller unit of China's biggest shipbuilder, said first-quarter profit fell 50 percent to 129.3 million yuan because of higher prices for steel plates. The stock climbed 1.25 percent to 23.54 yuan.

Commodity producers lost after metal prices fell.

Jiangxi Copper Co, China's biggest producer of the metal, tumbled 3.31 percent to 23.63 yuan after copper futures for July delivery posted the sharpest four-day slide since December 5.

Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Co, the No. 2, fell 3.04 percent to 14.35 yuan.

Copper futures for July delivery dropped 3.4 percent to US$1.991 a pound in New York yesterday. That leaves the metal down 9.4 percent so far this week.

Henan Yuguang Gold & Lead Co, the world's biggest lead producer, said first-quarter profit dropped 75 percent to 12.9 million yuan because of lower metal prices. The stock plunged 2.23 percent to 13.14 yuan.


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