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Wen's statement firms up market

SHANGHAI'S key stock index closed higher in morning trading after Premier Wen Jiabao said China was ready to unveil more economic stimulus measures when needed.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.62 percent, or 13.20 points, to close at 2,147.08 points. Turnover was 40.4 billion yuan (US$5.9 billion). Losers outnumbered gainers 454 to 394 and 60 remained unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was up 0.37 percent to close at 699.57 points.

Banks and financial sector led the rises. Bank of Communications advanced 2.60 percent to 5.52 yuan. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the nation's biggest lender, added 0.54 percent to 3.70 yuan. Bank of China added 2.40 percent to 3.42 yuan.

China Life Insurance Co Ltd, the country's largest life insurance company, added 2.17 percent to 21.15 yuan. China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co Ltd advanced 3.40 percent to 14.58 yuan.

Coal producers were among the gainers. China Coal Energy Co, the nation's second-largest coal producer, said it increased output by 0.4 percent in the first two months. Its shares added 1.80 percent to 7.90 yuan. China Shenhua Energy Co, the nation's largest coal producer, edged up 0.90 percent to 18.99 yuan. Datong Coal Industry Co Ltd gained 1.79 percent to 14.80 yuan.

Guangdong Electric Power Development Co Ltd said it will pay a total of 189 million yuan for a 10 percent stake in Guangdong Yudean Jinghai Power Generation Co. The stock edged up 0.63 percent to 6.37 yuan.

Heavyweights were rather stable in the first half of trading. Crude oil surged 11 percent in New York to above US$47 per barrel after reports that OPEC is expected to cut production. PetroChina, the biggest component index, edged up 0.09 percent to 10.63 yuan. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, Asia's largest refiner, was up 0.24 percent to 8.19 yuan.

Real estate developers were on the losing side. China Merchants Property Development Co Ltd lost 1.44 percent to 19.17 yuan. Gemdale Corporation was down 1.22 percent to 8.90 yuan.


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