China stocks set for weekly gain on upbeat economic data

SHANGHAI, April 2 (Reuters) - China stocks rose on Friday and looked set to post their second straight weekly gain, as investors were encouraged by recent data pointing to a solid recovery in the world’s second-largest economy.

** The CSI300 index rose 0.9% to 5,156.13 by the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.4% to 3,481.39.

** Leading the gains, the CSI300 consumer staples index and the CSI300 healthcare index firmed 2.4% and 0.8%, respectively.

** For the week, CSI300 climbed 2.3%, while SSEC added 1.8%.

** “It’s not a bear market. The mid-term correction since February has basically ended now and there are no conditions for major indexes to fall further as overall valuations of the A-share market remain low,” said Ma Manran, chairman of Beijing Ma Manran Asset Management Company.

** The CSI300 index has declined 13% from an all-time high hit on Feb. 18, amid worries Beijing could move to rein in bubbles in the financial markets.

** Ma said there was no need to worry about fundamentals also, thanks to solid corporate earnings, adding he’s optimistic about the consumer, healthcare and emerging industries that represent China’s future economic development.

** Data over the weekend showed annual profits at China’s industrial firms surged in the first two months of 2021, highlighting a rebound in the country’s manufacturing sector and a broad revival in economic activity.

** Data on Wednesday showed China’s manufacturing activity expanded at the quickest pace in three months in March as factories cranked up production after a brief lull during the Lunar New Year holidays.

** The market has bottomed out and investor sentiment and behaviour will tend to be calm in April, though it would take time to foster a continued rally in the market, CITIC Securities analysts said in a report.

** Hong Kong stock markets are closed for Good Friday. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)