China stocks end higher on upbeat data

SHANGHAI, Dec 28 (Reuters) – China stocks closed higher on Monday, helped by strong industrial profit data that underscored a continued recovery in the world’s second-largest economy.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.4% to 5,064.41, while the Shanghai Composite Index was flat at 3,397.29.

** Consumer firms led the gains, with the CSI300 consumer staples index and the consumer discretionary index rising 2.9% and 1.8%, respectively.

** Profits at China’s industrial firms grew robustly in November for a seventh month of gains, supported by strong industrial production and sales, as manufacturers continue their recovery from the COVID-19 downturn.

** China will overtake the United States to become the world’s biggest economy in 2028, five years earlier than previously estimated due to the contrasting recoveries of the two countries from the pandemic, a think tank said.

** China’s economic recovery is better than expected, Guotai Junan Securities said in a report.

** The direction of economic recovery overseas in 2021 is clear, while the sporadic resurgence of coronavirus cases in China has limited impact on the momentum and pace of the country’s economic recovery, the brokerage added.

** Though tech firms retreated amid regulatory concerns. The CSI300 IT index lost 1.4%, while the STAR50 index tracking Shanghai’s tech-focused STAR Board, eased 0.8%.

** China’s central bank disclosed on Sunday it had asked the country’s payments giant Ant Group Co Ltd to shake up its lending and other consumer finance operations, the latest blow to its billionaire founder and controlling shareholder Jack Ma.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.12%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 0.74%.

** At 0728 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.5317 per U.S. dollar, 0.15% firmer than the previous close of 6.5412. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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