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Friday, October 16, 2015, 15:16

Chinese shares at 7-week highs

By Reuters

BEIJING - China stocks rose on Friday to seven-week highs, with main indexes registering their best weekly performance in four-and-a-half months after data showed Chinese loans surged in September.

The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen rose 1.4 percent, to 3,534.07, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.6 percent, to 3,391.35 points.

For the week, the CSI300 jumped 5.8 percent and SSEC by 6.5 percent, their best weekly performance since early June.

Despite the gains, the SSEC is still 34 percent below its mid-June peak.

Underscoring how market sentiment has improved, Friday's trading volume in Shanghai hit a six-week high.

Lending by Chinese banks surged far more than expected in September, with 1.05 trillion yuan (US$165.47 billion) in new yuan loans extended following moves by the authorities to stop the economy slowing.

Hopes for more government stimulus have fuelled the market's recent rebound, and some analysts expect more steps even after the robust lending data.

"Despite a rebound in new loans, we think the weak growth and PPI deflation still point to the need for an interest rate cut," Barclays said in a report on Friday.

On Friday, shares in most sectors advanced, with transportation and infrastructure stocks leading the charge on expectations of more government-led investment.

Shares of Air China, China Eastern and China Southern Airlines surged, after the carriers expected sharp rises in their nine-month profit, helped by lower fuel costs and increasing domestic travel.

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