Business / Markets

Buying support props up equities

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-07-24 08:06

Buying support props up equities

Investors look downcast at a stock trading center in Fuyang, Anhui province. [Photo/China Daily]

Mainland stocks rose for a sixth day, the benchmark index's longest stretch of gains since May, as volatility fell amid unprecedented government intervention to support equities.

The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 2.4 percent to 4,123.92 points, led by material producers and financial companies. Some 531 companies were suspended from trading on mainland exchanges, equivalent to 18 percent of total listings. The measure has rallied 18 percent since bottoming out on July 8 as a gauge of 10-day price swings dropped to a one-month low.

"Volatility has certainly fallen off in a big way and we are seeing sustained signs of stability," said Bernard Aw, a Singapore-based strategist at IG Asia Pte. "The upshot is that this sideways grind is going to stay for a while longer as onshore markets slowly resume normalcy, with the government carefully scaling back the support measures."

The Shanghai index has rebounded from a rout that wiped out $4 trillion in value after officials allowed more than 1,400 companies to halt trading, banned major shareholders from selling stakes, suspended initial public offerings and gave a government agency access to more than $480 billion of borrowed funds to help finance equity purchases. Margin traders increased holdings of shares purchased with borrowed money for a fourth day in Shanghai on Wednesday.

The government should exit from some contingency measures to stabilize financial markets at an "appropriate time", the People's Daily said in an article on Thursday. The government should also normalize some measures that are consistent with reforms, the newspaper said.

The median trailing price-to-earnings ratio on mainland bourses is 73, higher than in any of the world's 10 largest markets.

Stock prices of material producers surged before Friday's manufacturing data. A preliminary index of manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index, known as the flash PMI, probably rose to 49.7 in July from 49.4 a month earlier, according to the median estimate of a Bloomberg survey.

Yunnan Tin Co surged by the 10 percent daily limit, while Anhui Conch Cement Co rose 4.7 percent.

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