China stocks firm after rebound in industrial profits
* CSI300 +0.4 pct, SSEC +0.5 pct, Hong Kong closed
* Industrial shares outperform after Jan-Feb profits rise 4.8 pct
SHANGHAI, March 28 (Reuters) - China stocks were firmer on Monday helped by data over the weekend showing industrial profits returned to growth in the first two months of the year despite a slowing economy, lifting manufacturing shares.
January and February profits at Chinese industrial firms rose 4.8 percent from a year earlier, compared with a fall of 4.7 percent in December, which was the seven month of decline.
The statistics bureau always gives a combined profit figure for the first two months of each year to smooth out seasonal distortions caused by the Lunar New Year holiday.
Manufacturing shares were broadly higher, with food and beverage, machinery, and medicine manufacturers leading indices up.
Analysts said the strong industrial numbers might represent pent-up demand from late 2015 as concerns over the yuan and monetary policy recede, a bullish signal for China's struggling factory sector.
"A 50 percent rise in sales revenue stands out," wrote Tim Condon, Chief Asia Economist at ING Bank in Singapore, in a research note on Monday following the data release on Sunday.
"We believe steadier (People's Bank of China) policy since the second week of January released the pent-up demand." Continuación...