China stocks end higher on consumer, healthcare shares boost

China stocks end higher on consumer, healthcare shares boost

SHANGHAI: China stocks closed higher on Thursday, led by consumer and healthcare shares, as investors appeared to shrug off a survey showing weaker-than-expected factory activity growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 1.2 per cent to 5,110.78, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.7 per cent to 3,466.33.

Leading the gains, the CSI300 consumer discretionary index and the CSI300 healthcare index climbed 2.5 per cent and 2.4 per cent, respectively.

China’s factory activity in March expanded at the slowest pace in almost a year on softer overall domestic demand, but underlying economic conditions remained positive even as input and output inflationary pressures intensified for manufacturers.

The findings contrast with those in an official survey, which showed manufacturing activity grew at a stronger pace as large firms ramped up production after a brief lull during the Lunar New Year holidays.

“Overall, corporate earnings are good and basically in line with market expectations, while China’s latest economic data also proved solid,” Yan Kaiwen, an analyst with China Fortune Securities said.

“What I worry the most are external risks, in particular the U.S. 10-year treasury yield, which could probably become a focus for investors again when it rises past 2 per cent and weigh on the markets,” he added.

Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.96 per cent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 0.72 per cent.

At 0714 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.5705 per U.S. dollar, 0.29 per cent weaker than the previous close of 6.5518.

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