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Shanghai index rises on strength of blue chips
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Shanghai's key stock index advanced today thanks to recovering blue chips across the board.

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Co led the gains among lenders.

The Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks yuan-denominated A shares and hard-currency B shares, jumped 1.37 percent, or 61.59 points, to 4,552.32.

Gainers in the Shanghai market outnumbered losers 764 to 60 while 150 were unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which covers the mainland's smaller stock market, added 1.50 percent, or 20.48 points, to 1,381.12.

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank gained for the first time in three trading days, pacing gains among bank stocks, after the regulator said total assets of domestic lenders increased in the fourth quarter.

Pudong Bank, the Chinese partner of Citigroup Inc, rose 2.14 percent, or 1.05 yuan (15 US cents), to 50.03 yuan. It fell 5.7 percent over the past two trading days. China Minsheng Banking Corp, the nation's only privately controlled lender that is listed, climbed 2.03 percent, or 0.27 yuan, to 13.58 yuan.

Total assets of banks operating in China rose 20 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, to 52.6 trillion yuan, the banking regulator said yesterday. The combined bad-loan ratio stood at 6.17 percent in the fourth quarter, the China Banking Regulatory Commission said. It did not give a 2006 figure because the number of banks differed.

China Shipping Development Co rose to the highest in almost a month today after saying it will increase domestic freight rates.

China Shipping, the nation's biggest oil carrier, advanced 4.37 percent, or 1.59 yuan, to 37.95 yuan.

The company said average freight rates will rise about 40 percent this year and it will boost domestic volume seven percent to 89.4 million tons this year from 2007.

Elsewhere, China United Telecommunications Corp, which controls the nation's second-largest cell phone operator, rose 2.55 percent, or 0.31 yuan, to close at 12.45 yuan.

China's telecommunications regulator said a cap on fees for long-distance wireless phone calls will take effect on March 1. Incoming domestic long-distance calls will cost a maximum of 0.40 yuan a minute, and subscribers will pay no more than 0.60 yuan for making a call outside their area, the Ministry of Information Industry said yesterday.

Huadian Power International Corp dipped 0.59 percent, or 0.05 yuan, to close at 8.45 yuan. The electricity generator plans to sell as much as 5.3 billion yuan of bonds with warrants to fund purchases of power assets from its parent and repay debt.

(Shanghai Daily February 14, 2008)

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