Shanghai shares erase 2014 losses, ChiNext at record high

HONG KONG Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:07am EST

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HONG KONG Feb 17 (Reuters) - Shanghai shares closed at their highest in two months on Monday, led by strong gains for premium liquor producers that helped push the benchmark index into positive territory for the first time in 2014.

The Shanghai Composite Index finished up 0.9 percent at 2,135.4 points, its highest closing level since Dec. 18 and it is now up 0.9 percent for the year. The CSI300 of the largest Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings rose 0.7 percent, but is still down 0.8 percent in 2014.

The Nasdaq-style ChiNext Composite Index of mostly high tech startups listed in Shenzhen outperformed, jumping 3 percent to a record closing high.

Kweichow Moutai stretched a post-Lunar New Year rally on signs of better-than-expected sales during the week-long holiday. Its Shanghai shares jumped 5 percent on Monday and have surged 13.5 percent in the seven sessions since trading resumed Feb. 7.

The banking sector was a key drag, unmoved by Saturday's official data saying that despite the central bank's clampdown on credit, China's banks in January disbursed the most loans for any month in four years. (Reporting by Clement Tan; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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