* SSEC up 1.13 pct, CSI300 up 1.09 pct
* HSI up 0.6 pct, IT stocks rally
* Investors hopeful after regulator’s promise of more liquidity
* HSI set for 6th straight month of losses, longest since 1982
By Noah Sin
HONG KONG, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Chinese stocks climbed on Wednesday as policymakers’ promise to support the equity market after recent losses boosted risk appetite, helping investors look past weaker industrial growth data.
** The Shanghai Composite index gained 1.13 percent to touch 2,597.05, while blue-chip CSI300 index was up 1.09 percent. ** The CSI financial sector sub-index was higher by 0.15 percent, the consumer staples sector up 2.37 percent, the real estate index flat and the healthcare sub-index up 2.53 percent. ** The smaller Shenzhen index was up 1.2 percent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 1.25 percent. ** Analysts attributed market optimism to the Chinese securities regulator’s promise on Tuesday that it will improve market liquidity, encourage share buybacks and mergers and acquisitions.
** “This won’t bring about new capital immediately,” said Zhang Qi, a Shanghai-based analyst at Haitong Securities. “But the policy signals of supporting the stock market are very clear, and the markets are reacting.” ** Investors paid less attention to PMI data, which indicated that China’s manufacturing growth in October was at its weakest pace in over two years. ** “We’ve had a long period of selling, the market is numb to this sort of news,” said Cao Xuefeng, head of research at Huaxi Securities. “Most people have been expecting it to be lower than before. Even though PMI is weaker, it is still above 50, which is where most people expected it to be.”
** In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index edged up 0.6 percent to 24,732.97. Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong rose 0.51 percent at 10,050.36. Hang Seng’s IT sub index shot up as much as 3 percent in early trading.
** However, the Hang Seng index was set for its sixth consecutive month of losses, the longest losing streak since 1982.
** The top gainers among H-shares were Great Wall Motor Co Ltd , up 5.24 percent, followed by Anhui Conch Cement Co Ltd, gaining 5.11 percent and Air China Ltd , up by 4.75 percent. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were PICC Property and Casualty Co Ltd, which has fallen 12.5 percent, People’s Insurance Group of China Co Ltd, which has lost 6.7 percent and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp , down by 4.6 percent.
** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.49 percent while Japan’s Nikkei index was up 1.69 percent. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.9675 per U.S. dollar as of 3.49 a.m. GMT, same as the previous close. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Sichuan Em Technology Co Ltd, up 10.12 percent, followed by Luyin Investment Group Co Ltd, gaining 10.12 percent and Jiangsu SINOJIT Wind Energy Technology Co Ltd, up by 10.11 percent. ** The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were Zhejiang Hugeleaf Co Ltd, down 10.09 percent, followed by Zhejiang Qianjiang Biochemical Co Ltd, losing 10.03 percent and Anhui Andeli Department Store Co Ltd , down by 9.99 percent. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is down 21.5 percent. The Shanghai index is set to finish the month down 7.95 percent, whereas the CSI 300 will be down 8.5 percent.
Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri