August 25, 2017 / 5:04 AM / 3 months ago

Robust earnings help Shanghai shares breach key level; Hong Kong also up

* SSEC +1.2 pct, CSI300 +1.0 pct, HSI +0.7 pct

* SSEC breaks through key resistance level of 3,300 points

* Solid earnings, SOE restructuring hopes boost confidence

SHANGHAI, Aug 25 (Reuters) - China stocks rose firmly on Friday morning, putting it on track to end the week at 20-month-highs as financial and resources shares powered the Shanghai index past a key resistance level.

Investors welcomed robust earnings from blue-chip firms, as well as signs that state-owned enterprise (SOE) restructuring is picking up pace.

Better prospects for China’s economy also helped support the Hong Kong market, where many mainland firms are listed, offsetting investor wariness ahead of global central bankers’ speeches at a symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

China’s blue-chip CSI300 index rose 1 percent, to 3,771.43 points by the lunch break. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.2 percent, to 3,309.31 points.

Analysts say if the Shanghai Index can stand firmly above the 3,300 point mark - a level that has proven to be stiff resistance, with three failed attempts to breach it over the past nine months - market bears would capitulate. The level has only been breached briefly since 2015, with the index quickly falling back below it each time.

“The index approaching this level would trigger selling, from those with bearish views. A breakthrough could turn market bears into bulls and attract fresh money,” said Yang Hai, strategist at Kaiyuan Securities.

Technical analysis aside, market sentiment appears also shifting on an improvement in fundamentals.

“A few months ago, investors were worried about a renewed economic slowdown in the second half. Today, people are debating the prospect of a new economic cycle,” Yang said.

Ren Zeping, analyst at Founder Securities, cited a slew of signs to support his argument of a “new economic cycle”. They include healing corporate balance sheets, rising commodity prices, increasing financing demand from companies and a stronger yuan.

Improving economic fundamentals are already reflected in a batch of newly-released earnings results.

Market leaders in a range of sectors, including China Vanke Co , China Life Insurance Co Ltd and Baoshan Iron & Steel Co Ltd , all published solid first-half results on Friday.

Investors are also encouraged by signs that SOE restructuring is accelerating.

Days after China Unicom unveiled its reform plans, China National Gold Group Gold Jewellery Co, a unit of China’s largest gold producer, also announced mixed-ownership reforms.

Stocks rose across the board. The banking subindex jumped more than 2 percent, pushing the valuations of China Construction Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China above their respective forward book values.

The materials sectors also rose sharply, with an index tracking coal producers surging more than 4 percent.

HONG KONG

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 0.7 percent, to 27,707.00 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index , which tracks mainland companies, gained 1.6 percent, to 11,230.26.

Energy shares jumped 2.5 percent, as Chinese oil giants Sinopec, PetroChina and CNOOC rose sharply.

CNOOC Ltd reported its strongest semiannual results since the second half of 2014, helped by higher crude oil prices.

Reporting by Samuel Shen and John Ruwitch; Editing by Lisa Twaronite and Richard Borsuk

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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