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China's blue-chip stocks post third weekly gains on upbeat data, policy support

SHANGHAI, Oct 16 (Reuters) - China stocks were little changed on Friday but posted a weekly gain, buoyed by fresh policy support and upbeat data that pointed to an economic recovery from the COVID-19 fallout.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.2% to 4,791.68, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1% to 3,336.36.

** The tech-heavy start-up board ChiNext slipped 0.5%, while the STAR50 fell 1.1%.

** For the week, the CSI300 gained 2.4% and logged its third straight weekly gain, while SSEC was up 2%.

** “The market found support in the country’s relatively robust consumption recovery during the Golden Week holiday,” said Zheng Zichun, an analyst with AVIC Securities.

** Investors cheered latest upbeat trade data showing China’s imports grew at their fastest pace this year in September. New bank loans grew more than expected in September, fuelled by a jump in corporate loans.

** Beijing’s continued policy support for its capital markets also helped boost risk appetite earlier in the week.

** China said it will extend its initial public offering (IPOs) reforms to all parts of its stock markets at an appropriate time.

** That came after China’s state council published last Friday the Opinion on Further Improving the Quality of Listed Companies, which includes exploring more long-term evaluation mechanisms for institutional investors to attract more mid and long-term funds.

** But analysts urged caution given various uncertainties.

** The A-share market could remain range-bound ahead of the U.S. elections, which could cause fluctuations in the U.S. stock market, while investors are still cautious over geopolitical tensions including Sino-Indian border dispute and the tensions in Taiwan strait, AVIC Securities’ Zheng said.

** Morgan Stanley analysts said in a report that investors should keep an eye on the U.S. election outcome, China’s fifth plenum later this month and earnings results in the third quarter. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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