China's blue-chip index extends gains on healthcare, financials boost

China's blue-chip index ended higher for the fourth straight session on Thursday, powered by healthcare, consumer staples and financials sectors, on investor optimism over the swift recovery in the world's second-largest economy.

At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was up 1.13 percent at 3,404.87.

The blue-chip CSI300 index was up 1.28 percent. Healthcare shares were the standout performer of the day, with the sector's sub-index gaining 3.27 percent, powered by an 8.42 percent jump in shares of Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co., Ltd. 

Hong Kong Stock Exchange data showed Hengrui was the second-most traded A-share through the Northbound leg of Stock Connect on Wednesday after the company announced promising results about a cancer drug.

The smaller Shenzhen index ended 0.96 percent higher and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 0.905 percent.

Index gains mirrored strength across broader markets. The dollar plummeted to two-year lows and oil futures rose to $51.71 a barrel, their highest since early March, as monetary support and the hope of fiscal stimulus in the United States put traders in a festive mood.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.4 percent to an all-time high. Japan's Nikkei rose 0.3 percent to sit just shy of a 29-year peak.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell vowed on Wednesday to keep pouring cash in to markets until the U.S. economic recovery is secure.

At 0704 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.5346 per U.S. dollar, 0.04 percent weaker than its previous close of 6.5323.

So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 11.6 percent and the CSI300 advanced 22.5 percent, while China's H-share index listed in Hong Kong is down 5.9 percent. Shanghai stocks have climbed 0.39 percent this month.

(Cover via CFP)

Source(s): Reuters

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