SHANGHAI, April 6 China stocks extended gains on
Thursday to hit 4-month highs as investors continued to chase
stocks which could benefit from the government's launch of a
massive new economic zone near Beijing.
The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.3 percent to
3,514.05 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index
added 0.4 percent to 3,281.00.
Most of the market's attention was focused on the new
Xiongan special zone, described as "a thousand-year project",
with dozens of stocks related to the plan surging the maximum
allowed 10 percent trade limit for the second session in a row.
Many domestic brokerage firms expect the initiative to
become a strong investment theme in coming months, given the
prominence of the plan.
In particular, infrastructure stocks are widely seen
benefiting from the development of the special zone, which would
be modelled on the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone that helped
kickstart China's economic reforms in 1980.
An index tracking major infrastructure players
advanced 2.3 percent to a 15-month high, after registering best
day in four months the previous session.
Infrastructure giants China State Construction Engineering
leaped 6 percent, China Railway Group
jumped 5 percent, while China Railway Construction Corp
ended up 3.5 percent.
Investors were also looking to President Donald Trump's
first face-to-face meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping
later this week, with trade and security issues set to figure
prominently in the talks.
"As long as they don't have huge conflict, the meeting won't
have much impact," said Alex Wong, Hong Kong-based director of
Ample Finance Group.
The market was largely unfazed by a private survey which
showed activity in China's service sector expanded at its
weakest pace in six months in March, hurt by slower growth in
new orders and intensifying cost pressures.
"Investors are generally optimistic about consumption and
the real estate sector," Wong said, adding that the Hong Kong
and China markets were expected to outperform global peers.
A flurry of data in coming weeks is expected to show solid
economic growth in China in March, though many analysts expect
the pace to moderate in coming months as the impact of earlier
stimulus fades and measures to cool the heated property market
start to bite.
(Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch; Editing by Kim