July 28, 2017 / 7:15 AM / a year ago

China stocks gain, Shanghai up for 6th week on solid data, reform hopes

SHANGHAI, July 28 (Reuters) - China stocks ended higher on Friday, with the Shanghai benchmark index recording the sixth consecutive week of gains, bolstered by recent solid economic data and the country’s pledge to persist with supply-side reforms.

The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.3 percent, to 3,721.89 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1 percent to 3,253.24 points.

For the week, CSI300 was down 0.2 percent, while SSEC gained 0.5 percent.

In the past week, investors were cheered by better-than-expected GDP growth in the second quarter that signalled stable growth over coming months.

The International Monetary Fund said on Monday it now expected stronger growth of 6.7 percent in China in 2017, while a Chinese state think tank also expects an annual growth rate of around 6.7 percent in the second half.

Regulators issued a flurry of measures earlier in the year to crack down on speculative forms of financing amid heightened debt risks. With second-quarter growth topping expectations, many analysts expect the government to retain the curbs for at least the rest of the year.

A senior Chinese economic official on Thursday also indicated that policymakers would be willing to sacrifice some short-term economic growth in order to deal with systemic risks.

Investors continued to plough into blue-chips seen as “safer bets”, in particular industry-leading cyclicals, which benefit most from China’s pursuit of supply-side reforms.

According to second-quarter reports from China’s mutual fund managers, they remained overweight on sector leaders. The reports also showed institutional investors stepped up their holdings in mainboard shares in the past three months, while cutting exposure to start-ups to the lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2013.

While start-up firms rebounded on Thursday, analysts see little prospect of a reversal of fortunes for these stocks, citing numerous headwinds including a rapid pace of listing approvals that increase equity supply and slowing profit growth at leading tech firms.

For the day, consumer stocks rose after sector leader Kweichow Moutai reported robust mid-year earnings growth, while material firms also gained 1.8 percent. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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