China shares end up 0.9 pct on stimulus hopes

BEIJING, March 24 Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:12am EDT

BEIJING, March 24 (Reuters) - China's main stock index closed up 0.9 percent on Monday as a weak manufacturing survey raised investors' hopes that the government will unveil stimulus measures to prop up growth.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed up 18.66 points at 2,066.3.

The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings rose 0.8 percent to 2,176.6.

Finance and insurance shares were the biggest gainers in both indexes.

China's manufacturing engine contracted in March for the third straight month, a preliminary private survey showed on Monday.

Output and new orders both weakened but new export orders grew for the first time in four months, the survey showed, suggesting the slowdown has been driven primarily by weak domestic demand.

(Reporting By Natalie Thomas; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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