(Adds details on “new era” stocks, updates to close)
By Samuel Shen and John Ruwitch
SHANGHAI, Oct 25 (Reuters) - China’s blue-chip shares extended gains to 26-month highs on Wednesday, underpinned by robust profits from tech firms and as the ruling Communist Party revealed its new leadership line-up.
During the week-long Communist Party Congress that concluded on Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping projected a vision for a “new era”, boosting demand for a range of sectors including green technology, healthcare and advanced manufacturing.
The blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 0.5 percent, at 3,976.95 points, its highest close since August 2015, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3 percent to 3,396.90 points.
During the midday trading break, the Communist Party unveiled its core decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee, headed by President Xi.
HSBC’s Greater China Economist Julia Wang expects co-ordinated policies to reduce financial risks, more institutionalised environment policies, and accelerated state-owned enterprise (SOE) reforms following the congress.
An index tracking environmental protection shares rose 0.9 percent, on investor confidence they would benefit from Xi’s vision of a “beautiful China.”
Indexes tracking SOEs, were also firm.
During the party congress, Xi unfolded a roadmap for China’s development until 2050 that would address challenges from “imbalanced and inadequate” growth.
The party unanimously passed an amendment to its constitution to include “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” as one of its guiding principles.
UBS strategist Gao Ting interpreted the “new era” as one characterised by an emphasis on quality of growth, rather than quantity, benefitting sectors such as advanced manufacturing, environmental protection, education and healthcare.
He also identified recurring investment opportunities around SOE restructuring and the Xiong‘an special economic zone.
“These are likely major investment themes over the next three, five years,” he said.
“Market interest could be temporarily diverted away from these areas, but will ultimately come back to these themes.”
The significance of government policy cues from the week-long Party Congress can never be overestimated, Yu Weixing, general manager at asset manager Shanghai Zheng Chuang Investment, said.
“Policy direction to investors is what weather forecast is to sailors,” Yu said, adding he was especially impressed by Xi’s emphasis on environmental protection during his opening speech.
”I was impressed by Xi’s remark that ‘we should treat the environment as our own lives’. That shows China’s growth model in the past is not sustainable. “This could spawn huge investment opportunities in areas ranging from new energy and electric vehicles to energy conservation and sewage treatment.”
Yang Ruomu, analyst at Dongxing Securities, saw Xi’s vision for a “beautiful China” translating into tighter regulation and spurring huge demand for environment monitoring and protection.
The brokerage recommended investment in companies such as Infore Environmental Technology Group, Fujian Longma Environmental Sanitation Equipment and Fujian Longking Co Ltd.
Emphasis on more balanced growth also creates opportunities in sectors such as healthcare and education, said Shen Weizheng, fund manager at asset manager Ivy Capital.
“More people in China deserve longer and happier lives, and their needs for healthcare and education should be met.”
Fund manager, Hu Yuanzhi, at Shanghai-based asset manager Rationalstone Investment, will bet on leading home appliance maker Gree and Midea as stocks that will benefit from increasing demand for better living.
The need for more advanced production to enhance living standards will also benefit tech companies.
China Merchants Securities said the government’s focus on innovation and technology upgrade would benefit stocks such as advanced component maker Sunny Optical, telecom equipment producer ZTE , and semiconductor firm SMIC.
Some investors were surprised that Xi’s political thoughts were enshrined into the Party constitution, cementing his power.
“Power concentration could lead to higher efficiency and more predictability in the short term,” Ivy Capital’s Shen said. (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)