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Shanghai shares rise 2.3% at midday

SHANGHAI'S key stock index climbed more than 2 percent in the morning session to near 2,000 points, with gains in the financial sector and heavyweights.

The Shanghai Composite Index increased 2.30 percent, or 45.01 points, to 1,999.44 points by 11:30am. Turnover was 47.9 billion yuan (US$7.0 billion). Gainers outnumbered losers 455 to 372 and 81 remained unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, edged up 0.48 percent, or 2.87 points, to 603.56 points.

Banks are among the gainers after Central Huijin Investment Co Ltd announced it has been increasing stakes in state-owned banks including China Construction Bank and Bank of China. China Construction Bank, the second largest domestic bank, jumped 5.97 percent to 4.08 yuan. Bank of Communications surged 6.61 percent to 5.48 yuan. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the nation's biggest lender, increased 4.21 percent to 3.71 yuan.

PetroChina, the biggest component index, added 2.71 percent to 10.60 yuan. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, Asia's largest refiner, surged 4.98 percent to 7.80 yuan.

China United Telecommunications Corp, which controls the nation's second-largest cell phone operator, was up 2.25 percent to 5.00 yuan. ZTE Corporation, which provides telecommunication equipment, increased 4.32 percent to 29.00 yuan.

Air China Ltd, the nation's largest international carrier, said it may post its first annual loss in at least eight years because of reduced demand for travel and bad bets on fuel prices. Its shares still increased 1.59 percent to 4.48 yuan, however.

Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co, part of China's second biggest light-truck maker, said 2008 profits may half from the previous year because of increased costs and lower sales. Its shares were down 2.52 percent to 3.10 yuan.


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