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Stocks continue to bring investors cheer at midday

SHANGHAI'S key stock index closed higher in the morning session, extending last week's gains, as brokerages rallied on record trading volumes.

The Shanghai Composite Index added 1.32 percent, or 30.63 points, to 2,351.42 points at 11:30am.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was up 0.44 percent, or 3.3 points, to 752.62 points.

Citic Securities, the brokerage unit of China's biggest investment company, gained 3.78 percent to 26.38 yuan (US$3.85). Haitong Securities Co, the No. 2, added 3.95 percent to 14.46 yuan. Changjiang Securities Co rose 4.53 percent to 14.99 yuan.

Higher crude prices boosted oil-related shares. China Oilfield Services Ltd, the drilling unit of the nation's third-largest oil producer, jumped by the 10 percent daily limit to 15.3 yuan.

PetroChina Co, the nation's biggest oil company, advanced 2.39 percent to 12.02 yuan. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, Asia's biggest oil refiner, climbed 2.68 percent to 9.19 yuan.

Crude oil jumped 10 percent to US$37.51 a barrel on Feb 13, its first gain in six days and the largest daily increase since January 21, as traders who had been betting on further declines bought oil to limit losses during the three-day Presidents' Day holiday weekend in the United States.

Air carriers were also gaining. China's air-passenger volume gained the most in a year last month after domestic carriers flew more people during the Lunar New Year holidays. Passenger numbers gained 18 percent from a year earlier to 17.5 million in January, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said on February 13.

China Eastern Airlines Corp edged up 1.62 percent to 5.65 yuan. The carrier said it received a 15 billion yuan line of credit from the Agricultural Bank of China.

Air China Ltd, the nation's largest international carrier, added 1.12 percent to 5.44 yuan.

Elsewhere, Chongqing Changan Automobile Co surged 10 percent daily cap to 1.85 yuan after saying it will ask shareholders for approval to buy back foreign-currency stock.
Baoshan Iron & Steel Co soared 3.25 percent to 6.03 yuan after saying it plans to sell as much as 20 billion yuan of debt in the nation's interbank market.

China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co said its premium income for January totaled 112 million yuan. The shares gained 2.4 percent to 16.22 yuan.

China Shenhua Energy Co, the nation's biggest coal producer boosted output of the fuel by 21 percent last month from a year earlier. Production climbed to 17.6 million metric tons, Shenhua Energy said on February 13. The shares advanced 1.55 percent to 22.3 yuan.


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