China stocks climb as Beijing pledges continued policy support

SHANGHAI, Dec 21 (Reuters) - China stocks closed higher on Monday, as investors cheered Beijing’s continued policy support to shore up its economy hurt by the coronavirus crisis.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.9% to end at 5,046.84, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.8%to 3,420.57.

** The tech-heavy start-up board ChiNext rose 3.6%, while Shanghai’s STAR50 index surged 2%.

** Leading the gains, the CSI300 industrials index and the CSI300 IT index rose 2.3% and 1.8%, respectively.

** China will maintain policy support for its economic recovery, avoiding a sudden shift in policy, to help keep economic growth within a reasonable range in 2021, the Xinhua news agency said on Friday, after a meeting of top leaders ended.

** The annual Central Economic Work Conference, a gathering of top leaders and policymakers to chart the economy’s course in 2021, is being watched by investors amid speculation that Beijing would make policy changes amid accelerating growth, following a virus-induced slump earlier this year.

** “Setting the tone for stable and continued policies lays a foundation for a market rally, providing opportunities for both growth and cyclical firms,” Southwest Securities analysts said in a note.

** Bucking the broad strength, surveillance camera maker Hikvision and top chipmaker SMIC eased on index exclusion and U.S. blacklisting.

** SMIC said on Sunday that being put on a U.S. trade blacklist would pose a significant adverse impact to its research and development in its 10-nanometer and more advanced chip technology.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.48%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.18%.

** At 07:22 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.5494 per U.S. dollar, 0.17% weaker than the previous close of 6.5385.

** As of 07:23 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 43.34% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Rashmi Aich)