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Stocks rise on declining consumer and producer prices

SHANGHAI'S key stock index closed higher today as falling consumer and producer prices will allow more leeway for a loose macroeconomic policy.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index advanced 1.8 percent, or 40.45 points, to close at 2,265.16 points. Turnover was 135.6 billion yuan (US$19.8 billion). Gainers outnumbered losers 707 to 151 while 50 stocks did not change.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was up 2.63 percent, or 18.34 points, to close at 714.67 points.

Consumer Price Index increased 1 percent last month on year, the slowest pace in 30 months, the National Bureau of Statistics said this morning. The Producer Price Index dropped 3.3 percent in January on year, its fifth consecutive monthly decline.

"It's very likely the index will climb above 2,300 points in the middle or long term, but a fluctuation in the near future is inevitable after several days of gains as investors will take profits," according to a research note by Shenyin & Wanguo Securities.

PetroChina, the biggest component index, increased 4.86 percent to 11.67 yuan. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, Asia's largest refiner, advanced 3.25 percent to 8.89 yuan.

Banks were weak among speculation lower interest rates would reduce profits. Bank of Communications was down 1.97 percent to 5.98 yuan. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank dipped 0.22 percent to 17.75 yuan. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the nation's biggest listed lender, dipped 0.51 percent to 3.91 yuan. Bank of China edged up 0.30 percent to 3.29 yuan.

Real estate developers gained since lower loan rates may push property sales. China Vanke Co, the nation's biggest listed developer, jumped 3.04 percent to 8.14 yuan. Gemdale Corporation increased 3.11 percent to 8.96 yuan.

China Life Insurance Co, the nation's biggest insurer, said its parent company plans to inject 2 billion yuan into China Life Asset Management Co to bolster the joint venture. The stock dipped 0.27 percent to 22.32 yuan.


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