October 11, 2017 / 7:17 AM / a year ago

China stocks end higher, boosted by consumer and healthcare firms

SHANGHAI, Oct 11 (Reuters) - China stocks firmed on Wednesday, helped by a jump in defensive consumer staples such as big liquor producers, while resources shares curbed gains.

Sentiment remained largely positive although trade was thin, with Beijing expected to maintain stability in the financial markets ahead of a key party congress later this month.

The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.3 percent, to 3,902.69 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.2 percent to 3,388.28 points.

Sector performance was mixed, with consumer and healthcare firms leading the advance, while materials sagged and banking stocks pared gains in the afternoon session.

Kweichow Moutai, China’s largest liquor maker by market value, climbed 1 percent to a record high, helping the major consumer index gain more than 2 percent to the highest since it was launched in 2005.

The large-cap firm has surged more than 60 percent this year, as investors chased sector leaders with steady growth.

“Market participants are now placing more and more stress on fundamentals, as they seek investment opportunities in sectors with solid growth and reasonable valuations, including consumer firms,” said Xu Wei, an analyst with Hongxin Securities.

Healthcare firms also rallied, led by Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine with a 2.5 percent gain, after the government pledged big healthcare reforms.

An index tracking major medical firms advanced to its highest since June 2015, having gained nearly 20 percent so far this year.

But resources firms continued to languish on the weakness in commodities, with China Molybdenum dropping 3.5 percent and dragging the material sector 0.8 percent lower. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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