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Shanghai index hits three-week high

SHANGHAI'S key stock index rose over 1 percent to end at a three-week high today, led by brokerages and coal producers, after reports that index futures may be introduced by March and on expectations of higher coal prices.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.18 percent, or 38.42 points, to close at 3,282.86 points. Turnover rose to 161.9 billion yuan (US$23.8 billion) from 133.8 billion yuan on Monday. Gainers outnumbered losers 587 to 281 while 19 stocks remained unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was up 0.56 percent to close at 1,205.49 points.

Bloomberg cited unnamed sources today as saying China Securities Regulatory Commission has gained approval "in principle" from China's cabinet to introduce index futures while the first contract, based on China's CSI 300 Index, may begin trading after the Communist Party's annual congress in March.

Everbright Securities Co surged by the 10 percent daily cap to 27.24 yuan after saying it won approval from the securities watchdog to set up another five outlets. CITIC Securities Co advanced 4.9 percent to 32.82 yuan. Haitong Securities Co surged 3.8 percent to 19.24 yuan. Pacific Securities Co soared 5.5 percent to 18.77 yuan.

China Shenhua Energy Co climbed 2.5 percent to 35.13 yuan. Yanzhou Coal Mining Co jumped 4.3 percent to 24.21 yuan. China Coal Energy Co was up 3.8 percent to 13.97 yuan. Datong Coal Industry rose 3.9 percent to 46.54 yuan.

Bucking the upward trend, real estate developers plunged on media reports the government is moving closer to imposing a property tax to rein in speculation amid soaring housing prices. Shanghai-based Shimao Co retreated 4.2 percent to 15.6 yuan. Poly Real Estate Group withdrew 3.1 percent to 21.22 yuan. Gemdale Corp eased 2 percent to 13.24 yuan.


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