April 30, 2020 / 7:30 AM / a month ago

China stocks log best month in five on virus drug trial, policy hopes

SHANGHAI, April 30 (Reuters) - China stocks rallied on Thursday to post their biggest monthly advance since December, after positive trial results for a drug to treat COVID-19 and downbeat data reinforced hopes of further stimulus to bolster the world’s second-largest economy.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 1.2% at 3,912.58, while the Shanghai Composite Index closed 1.3% higher at 2,860.08.

** For the week, CSI300 gained 3.1%, while SSEC added 1.8%.

** For the month, CSI300 climbed 6.1%, while SSEC was up 4%, both posted their best monthly rise since last December, as investors cheered the reopening of some parts of the country and a raft of stimulus measures.

** On the macro front, data showed China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) eased to 50.8 in April from 52 in March. While twin surveys showed China’s factories suffered a collapse in export orders in April, suggesting a full-blown recovery appeared some way off.

** The latest data is not that surprising, as China has the best economic recovery in the world as it has basically brought the coronavirus outbreak under control, said Yan Jinkui, an analyst with Caida Securities.

** Amid the global monetary easing, why should China stocks fall at this moment, while markets overseas rally where virus control is not that good, he added.

** A populous region in northern China that includes Beijing will ease restrictions imposed to halt the spread of the new coronavirus, as the country gradually transitions to a new state of normal amid dwindling cases of COVID-19.

** Top U.S. infectious disease official Anthony Fauci said Gilead’s antiviral remdesivir will become the standard of care for COVID-19 after early results showed it helped patients recover more quickly from the illness caused by the coronavirus.

** China’s transport ministry said on Thursday it has a pool of transportation projects with a total investment value of 800 billion yuan ($113.02 billion) that can start as soon as funding is guaranteed.

** China’s financial markets will be closed from Friday through May 5 for Labor Day holiday.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 1.43%, while Japan’s Nikkei index was up 2.14%.

** The yuan was quoted at 7.048 per U.S. dollar, 0.4% firmer than the previous close of 7.0765. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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