By Laura He, MarketWatch
Reuters Enlarge Image
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Mainland Chinese stocks rallied to their highest close in more than five years on Monday, the first trading day of the new year, led by strength in the energy and real-estate sectors.
The Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.31% popped up 3.6% to end at 3,350.52, marking its biggest daily percentage gain in a month. In the previous trading session last week, the index also finished higher, ending 2014 as the world’s top-performing major equity market with an annual gain of 52%.
Coal-related shares soared after several provincial governments adjusted their resource-tax rates as part of a nationwide reforms of coal tax, aimed at reducing the burden on coal enterprises. Wintime Energy Co., Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202922213/delayed CN:600157 +2.78% , Shaanxi Coal Industry Co., Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/208667772/delayed CN:601225 -0.74% and Yang Quan Coal Industry (Group) Co., Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203773849/delayed CN:600348 0.00% all rose by the 10% daily limit.
Property shares also saw strong gains, as the Beijing government increased the cap on housing loans. Poly Real Estate Group Co. /zigman2/quotes/201864015/delayed CN:600048 -1.98% leapt 10%, Metro Land Corp. Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/208072728/delayed CN:600683 -2.39% climbed 5.5% and Gemdale Corp. /zigman2/quotes/208026094/delayed CN:600383 -2.07% advanced 3.4%.
In other Asian markets, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.33% notched a modest gain of 0.3%, with Rio Tinto Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed AU:RIO -0.46% rising 0.3%, after the Australian Financial Review reported the mining company will announce a $4 billion share-buyback program next month.
However, Japan’s Nikkei Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.39% slipped 0.2%, with the broader Topix /zigman2/quotes/210598092/delayed JP:180460 -0.03% down 0.5%. The yen /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY -0.4906% strengthened against the dollar to ¥120.33, from ¥120.48 in the prior session.