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Gains in financial sectors lift markets

By Louise Ho (Global Times)

08:30, January 31, 2013

Stock markets on the Chinese mainland soared higher for a third straight day Wednesday as financial stocks spread their wings.

The key Shanghai Composite Index climbed 23.5 points, or 1 percent, to close at an eight-month high of 2,382.47; while the Shenzhen Component Index surged 79.19, or 0.82 percent, to finish at 9,783.84, its highest close in six months.

Combined trading volume at the two exchanges totaled 229.9 billion yuan ($36.94 billion) Wednesday, down slightly from Tuesday's 233.6 billion yuan.

After an up-again, down-again morning session, surges in banking and securities brokerages in afternoon trading sent both markets advancing into positive territory.

Financial stocks were lifted in large part due to reports Wednesday from the China Business News that the country's securities regulator is considering increasing the quota of its Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) scheme by 10 billion yuan for financial institutions in Taiwan.

China's four biggest State-owned lenders jumped by more than 2 percent on this news, with Agricultural Bank of China Ltd rising 3.44 percent to 3.01 yuan, its highest close since its initial public offering in 2010.

Securities stocks held on the momentum they picked up Tuesday, when the announced expansion of China's margin trading program lifted the sector. Western Securities Co increased 3.30 percent Wednesday to 14.70 yuan.

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