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 (SHG:CN:SHCOMP) 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. (SHG:CN:601988) (HKG:HK:3988) soaring 9.9%, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (SHG:CN:601398) (HKG:HK:1398) leaping 6%, and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. (SHG:CN:601288) (HKG:HK:1288) spiking 5.6%. Shares of China Life Insurance Co. Ltd. (SHG:CN:601628) (HKG:HK:2628) were suspended from trading after a 10% surge, and Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China (SHG:CN:601318) (HKG:HK:2318) popped 9.5% higher.
The advance in mainland Chinese markets also boosted Hong Kong stocks, with the Hang Seng Index (HONG:HK:HSI) closing up 1.7%. The Hang Seng China Enterprises (HONG:CN:160462) , which tracks Hong Kong-listed mainland Chinese companies, added 2.4%.
However, in Japan, the Nikkei Average (NIKKEI:JP:NIK) dropped 0.5%, after the Bank of Japan cut its near-term inflation outlook, while leaving monetary policy unchanged. The broader Topix (TOKYO:JP:180460) also fell 0.5%.
The yen (XTUP:USDJPY) strengthened versus the dollar, trading at ¥117.67, compared with ¥118.70 late Tuesday in New York.
Other Asian markets ended higher, as Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 (S&P:AU:XJO) finished up 1.6%, and Seoul’s Kospi Composite Index (KOREA:KR:180721) edged 0.2% higher.