January 26, 2017 / 7:10 AM / a year ago

China blue chips edge up to new 6-week high ahead of holiday

SHANGHAI, Jan 26 (Reuters) - China shares rose for the fifth straight day on Thursday, with blue chips closing at fresh six-week highs, but gains were curbed after profits earned by industrial firms grew at a sharply slower pace last month.

Market turnover stayed thin on the last trading day before the Lunar New Year, China’s biggest holiday. Markets will be closed from Jan. 27 to Feb. 2.

The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.4 percent, to 3,387.96 points at the close, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3 percent, to 3,159.17 points.

For the week, the CSI rose 1 percent and the SSEC 1.2 percent. For the month, the CSI rose 2.4 percent and the SSEC 1.8 percent.

The market’s bullish sentiment was countered by data showing profits earned by Chinese industrial firms in December grew more slowly at 2.3 percent compared with November’s 14.5 percent.

Cao Xuefeng, head of research at Huaxi Securities in Chengdu, said the slower pace was partly due to seasonal factors as many workers had already left the factories for their home towns ahead of the new year.

Sector performance was mixed in China. An index tracking the resource stocks were among the best performers, up 1.4 percent at the close. (Reporting by Jackie Cai and John Ruwitch; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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