* SSEC up 0.4 pct, CSI300 higher 0.5 pct; both up for week
* Financials higher as pressure to lend eases after cbank comment
* Shanghai stocks rise on report of plan to expand free trade zone
By Noah Sin
HONG KONG, Nov 16 (Reuters) - China stocks rose about half a percent on Friday, helped by banks as comments from the central bank eased pressure to lend, and by securities companies on the back of a broad recovery in the equity market. Shares of Shanghai-based companies also advanced following a report that China plans to expand the free trade zone. ** The Shanghai Composite index ended 0.4 percent higher at 2,679.11, gaining 3.1 percent for the week. ** The blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.5 percent, posting a weekly gain of 2.8 percent. ** The CSI300 sub-index tracking securities companies climbed 2.33 percent. “Investors expect profits of these companies to improve as a result of the improved conditions in the market,” said Cao Xuefeng, head of research at Huaxi Securities in Chengdu. ** The People’s Bank of China told financial institutions to reasonably manage the pace and intensity of credit supply on Friday. ** The message shows that while the central bank is encouraging lending to the private sector, it is placing less pressure on banks to lend, according to Zhang Gang, an analyst at Central Securities in Shanghai. CSI 300’s financial sector sub-index gained 0.65 percent. ** Shares of several Shanghai-based companies surged after the Securities Times reported China is expected to release a draft plan before year-end to expand the Shanghai free trade zone, citing sources familiar with the matter. ** Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone Group Co Ltd closed 7.6 percent higher, Shanghai Jinqiao Export Processing Zone Development rose 10 percent and developer Shanghai Lujiazui Finance & Trade Zone Development Co Ltd gained 9.8 percent, helping CSI 300’s real estate sub index rise 1.5 percent. ** CSI300’s healthcare sub-index, down 1.6 percent, was the outlier in the broadly bullish market, after the government released details for centralised drug procurement. “With the release of policy details, we expect share price pressure and volatility for the sector until the release of tender results in early-mid December,” Cyrus Ng, an analyst with Jefferies, said in a note. ** The smaller Shenzhen index ended up 0.8 percent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 0.1 percent. ** The largest percentage gainers on the main Shanghai Composite index were Zhejiang Hugeleaf Co Ltd, followed by Ningbo Yunsheng Co Ltd and Shang Gong Group Co Ltd , all up by 10.1 percent. ** The largest percentage losers on the Shanghai index were Sichuan Minjiang Hydropower Co Ltd, down 10 percent, followed by Huaxin Cement Co Ltd, losing 7.3 percent, and Shanghai Sunglow Packaging Technology Co Ltd Co Ltd , down by 4.8 percent.
Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu