China stocks keep rallying on stimulus hopes
SHANGHAI, March 18 (Reuters) - China stocks rallied for the sixth straight session on Wednesday, powered by cyclical sectors such as steel, highways and property as weak economic data raised investors' hopes the government will announce fresh stimulus.
Both major indexes reached their highest level in nearly seven years, while trading volume hit fresh two-month highs.
Data early in the day showed China's average new home prices fell at the fastest pace on record in February, posing a further risk to the government's new economic growth target of around 7 percent for this year.
But real estate stocks jumped, with the Bank of Communications expecting the government will take measures to bolster the property market, including lower taxes and looser requirements for mortgage lending.
The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen rose 2.4 percent, to 3,846.06, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 2.1 percent, to 3,577.30 points.
Among the most active stocks in Shanghai were Bank of China , up 2.9 percent to 4.33 yuan; and Agricultural Bank of China, up 3.2 percent to 3.51 yuan.
In Shenzhen, BOE Technology, up 9.9 percent to 3.89 yuan; TCL Corp, up 10.1 percent to 5.79 yuan and Suning Appliance, up 7.8 percent to 12.81 yuan were among the most actively traded.
Shares in China Everbright Bank Co Ltd jumped 9.3 percent in Shanghai after the lender said it is mulling possible spin-off of wealth management arm.
(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Pete Sweeney; Editing by Richard Borsuk)
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