China stocks gain; weak industrial profit data fuels stimulus hopes

SHANGHAI, March 27 (Reuters) - China stocks closed higher on Wednesday following two straight sessions of losses, as a rebound on Wall Street aided sentiment, while weak industrial profit data fuelled hopes for more stimulus.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 1.2 percent at 3,743.39, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.9 percent to 3,022.72 points. ** China’s industrial firms posted their worst slump in profits since late 2011 in the first two months of this year, data showed, as increasing strains on the economy in the face of slowing demand at home and abroad took a toll on businesses.

** Beijing is beefing up measures to support the manufacturing industry by cutting the value-added tax, increasing infrastructure spending and reducing direct government intervention.

** Foreigners resumed their net buying of A-shares on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, after selling a bit more than 10 billion yuan ($1.49 billion) worth of stocks on Monday via the Stock Connect. ** “The short-term foreign outflows, a rebalancing act of global asset allocation amid concerns over world economic growth, will not change the secular trend of foreign investors’ buying into A-shares,” domestic brokerage CITIC Securities said in a report. ** The CSI300 financial sector sub-index was higher by 1.07 percent, the consumer staples sector up 2.69 percent, the real estate index up 1.71 percent and the healthcare sub-index up 3.37 percent. ** The smaller Shenzhen index ended up 0.9 percent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 0.465 percent. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.06 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.23 percent. ** The largest percentage gainers on the main Shanghai Composite index were North China Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, up 10.1 percent, followed by Chongqing Gangjiu Co Ltd, gaining 10.08 percent and Jiangsu Lianyungang Port Co Ltd , up by 10.08 percent. ** The largest percentage losers on the Shanghai index were Beijing Airport High-Tech Park Co Ltd down 8.33 percent, followed by Yangzhou Yaxing Motor Coach Co Ltd losing 8.2 percent and Hunan Tyen Machinery Co Ltd down by 8.02 percent. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Rashmi Aich)