2004-01-20 10:31:10
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Shares end up, investors optimistic about market's performance

SHANGHAI: China's shares closed up last Friday as investors counted on large-caps, such as Yangtze Electric Power, and banks swung higher to start ushering in the Year of the Monkey, brokers said.

The Shanghai exchange will be closed from Monday to January 28 for the Lunar New Year. It will re-open on January 29.

The holiday formally begins on January 22, when it will usher in the Year of the Monkey and escort out the Year of the Goat.

"The rise in the final trading day of the Year of the Goat gave the market a festive atmosphere, boding well for the Year of the Monkey,?said analyst Zhuang Qianhua with Huatai Securities.

The Shanghai composite index, which groups hard-currency B shares for foreigners and yuan-denominated A shares, closed up 0.88 per cent, to stand at 1,600.425 points, last Friday, just above the psychologically important 1,600-point level.

Index heavyweight Yangtze Electric, which manages the Three Gorges project, was one of the most active counters. It closed up 2.44 per cent, at 8.82 yuan (US$1.06).

The benchmark index has risen 21.6 per cent since hitting a four-and-a-half-year low in mid-November.

It had been depressed by factors such as too many stocks offers.

Analysts said they expected share prices to resume climbing just a few days after trading resumes, with the index likely to rise 6-7 per cent to test near-term resistance at 1,700 points in a few weeks.

China Business Weekly news

(Business Weekly 01/20/2004 page7)

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