By Laura He, MarketWatch
Reuters Enlarge Image
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Chinese stocks posted their strongest advance since late 2009 on Wednesday, with the financial sector leading gains.
Mainland China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.12% shot up 4.7%, marking its biggest daily percentage increase since October 2009, extending gains after Tuesday’s 1.8% advance. On Tuesday, China reported a higher-than-expected economic growth for December.
On Monday, the index tumbled 7.7%, its worst decline in more than six years, triggered by a crackdown on margin trade business by the regulator.
Banks and insurers recovered strongly in Shanghai, with Bank of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/209359942/delayed CN:601988 -0.31% /zigman2/quotes/204682472/delayed HK:3988 -0.41% soaring 9.9%, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202525815/delayed CN:601398 -0.20% /zigman2/quotes/201401473/delayed HK:1398 -0.75% leaping 6%, and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/204629388/delayed CN:601288 0.00% /zigman2/quotes/200705246/delayed HK:1288 -0.41% spiking 5.6%. Shares of China Life Insurance Co. Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/204766889/delayed CN:601628 -0.39% /zigman2/quotes/202359856/delayed HK:2628 -0.58% were suspended from trading after a 10% surge, and Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China /zigman2/quotes/202773380/delayed CN:601318 +0.67% /zigman2/quotes/210315058/delayed HK:2318 -0.12% popped 9.5% higher.
The advance in mainland Chinese markets also boosted Hong Kong stocks, with the Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -0.32% closing up 1.7%. The Hang Seng China Enterprises /zigman2/quotes/210598031/delayed CN:160462 -0.73% , which tracks Hong Kong-listed mainland Chinese companies, added 2.4%.
However, in Japan, the Nikkei Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.51% dropped 0.5%, after the Bank of Japan cut its near-term inflation outlook, while leaving monetary policy unchanged. The broader Topix /zigman2/quotes/210598092/delayed JP:180460 +0.48% also fell 0.5%.
Other Asian markets ended higher, as Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +1.51% finished up 1.6%, and Seoul’s Kospi Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.27% edged 0.2% higher.