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Domestic Stocks Rise After Interest Rates Hike
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Shanghai's stocks advanced, led by Bank of China Ltd after it said 2006 profit rose more than 50 percent.


Bank of China, the country's second-biggest listed lender, rose 0.24 yuan (3 US cents), or 4.8 percent, to 5.24 yuan. The lender said 2006 profit surged more than 50 percent after its income tax bill was reduced by 4.6 billion yuan. The lender didn't provide a profit figure in its statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange today.


China Minsheng Banking Corp jumped after the country's two biggest insurers bought a 10 percent stake in the lender, according to Bloomberg.


The Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks the bigger of domestic stock exchanges, rose 2.5 percent to 3003.98. The Shenzhen Composite Index, which covers the smaller one, climbed 1.1 percent to 782.89.


Minsheng Banking, the nation's first privately controlled lender, advanced 1.06 yuan, or 9.6 percent, to 12.09 yuan. China Life Insurance Co and Ping An Insurance (Group) Co paid a combined 10.8 billion yuan for about 10 percent of the lender.


"Solid earnings growth will attract more institutional investors into the banking sector," said Fan Dizhao, who helps manage the equivalent of US$1.8 billion at Guotai Asset Management Co in Shanghai.


China Life and Ping An each paid 5.4 billion yuan for 600 million shares, Minsheng Bank said in a statement today. The Beijing-based lender raised 18.16 billion yuan selling 2 billion shares to seven corporate investors. China Life climbed 1.20 yuan, or 3.6 percent, to 35.01 yuan and Ping An is suspended from trading.


Other lenders also rose on the news. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd, the nation's biggest listed lender, advanced 0.19 yuan, or 3.8 percent, to 5.14 yuan. China Merchants Bank Co, the nation's third-biggest publicly traded lender, rose 1.18 yuan, or 7.6 percent, to 16.70 yuan.


(Shanghai Daily March 19, 2007)


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