SHANGHAI, July 20 (Reuters) - China stocks jumped 2.5% on Monday, led by financial firms, after regulators moved to bolster the market by lifting equity investment cap for insurers and encouraging mergers and acquisitions among brokerages and mutual fund houses.
** At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was up 2.62% at 3,298.50 points, while the blue-chip CSI300 index was up 2.55%.
** The start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 0.47%.
** The rise followed Shanghai shares’ worst weekly drop in five months as better-than-expected GDP data in China fuelled worries over the pace of policy easing.
** Leading the gains on Monday, the CSI300 financials index jumped 4.5% after the state regulator lifted equity investment cap for insurers.
** China’s banking and insurance regulator said it was raising the cap on how much the country’s insurers can invest in equity assets, an effort trying to bring more long-term funds into the capital market.
** “The raising of equity investment cap for insurers will have an evident positive impact for the short term by bringing fresh money into the stock market,” said Zheng Zichun, an analyst with AVIC Securities.
** Securities firms also gained markedly, with the CSI SWS securities index up 6.2% by midday break, as regulator encouraged M&As in the industry.
** “The rally in the stock market is something regulators need, as it could reduce China’s domestic social pressure given the economic difficulties brought by the coronavirus outbreak,” he said.
** Though Zheng added that regulators now want a slow bull run rather than the “crazy” runup to 2015, which was mainly driven by liquidity.
** China kept its benchmark lending rate steady for the third straight month on Monday, matching market expectations, amid signs that the world’s second-largest economy is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.
** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong rose 1.47% to 10,354.06, while the Hang Seng Index was up 0.35% at 25,177.63. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Andrew Galbraith, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)