July 20, 2017 / 7:09 AM / 3 months ago

Blue-chips lead China stocks higher, helped by forecasts of solid earnings

SHANGHAI, July 20 (Reuters) - China’s major stock indexes rose for a third straight day on Thursday, led by the blue-chip index reaching a fresh 18-month high, with sentiment lifted by expectations of robust first-half corporate earnings.

The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.5 percent, to 3,747.88 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.4 percent to 3,244.86 points.

With the gains, the main indexes have erased losses early this week when investors panicked amid a sell-off in start-ups.

In contrast, the tech heavy start-up ChiNext is down 3.3 percent this week as investors shun small-cap firms that feature dim performances and higher valuations. On Thursday, the index edged up 0.2 percent.

Ma Wenyu, strategist at Shanxi Securities, said earnings of cyclical sectors such as mining and steel will keep improving as Beijing steps up “supply-side reforms” to reduce excess capacity.

“State-sector restructuring is expected to provide an additional market catalyst,” Ma said.

Construction companies Guangxi Liugong Machinery Co , XXMG Construction Machinery and Zoomlion Heavy Industry have forecast robust earnings growth, helped by government infrastructure investment.

China will announce a new batch of “mixed-ownership reforms” in state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the third quarter, the official Shanghai Securities News reported on Thursday.

Most sectors gained, led by real estate and consumers stocks, as investors expanded their search for blue-chips still attractively priced. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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