Shanghai shares end higher on policy support hopes

SHANGHAI: Shanghai’s benchmark share index ended higher on Thursday and Chinese blue-chips closed unchanged, as investors hoped soft economic data could lead Beijing to roll out further support measures.

The Shanghai Composite index ended 0.84% higher at 3,597.04.

The blue-chip CSI300 index crept up from small losses to end flat.

The smaller Shenzhen index ended up 0.33% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index fell 1.51%.

China is likely to accelerate fiscal spending and credit growth as its economic recovery slows, but investors are expecting any easing measures from Beijing to be finely targeted as the U.S. Federal Reserve prepares to taper its own stimulus.

The financial sector sub-index rose 1.16% and the real estate index gained 2.01%. The consumer staples sector fell 1.4%, the healthcare sub-index tumbled 3.43% and tech shares slipped 1.38%.

Tech shares have suffered in recent weeks amid heightened regulatory scrutiny. China’s transport ministry said that regulators had summoned 11 ride-hailing firms to a meeting to discuss points of concern in the sector.

An entertainment sub-index ended down just 0.04% despite China expanding a crackdown on its entertainment industry, telling broadcasters to bar artists with “incorrect political positions” and effeminate styles from shows, and said a “patriotic atmosphere” needed to be cultivated.

“Dip-buyers in China equities will keep dipping their toes. However, I believe we are a long way still from repricing China equities to a level that balances the government’s ‘enthusiasm’ for common prosperity,” Jeffrey Halley, senior Asia Pacific market analyst at OANDA said in a note.

Foreign investors were net buyers of Chinese A-shares through Stock Connect, with Refinitiv data showing inflows of 9.95 billion yuan ($1.54 billion).

At 0702 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.4612 per U.S. dollar, 0.01% weaker than the previous close of 6.4605.

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