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UPDATE 1-China's top brokerage CITIC posts 26.7% rise in Q1 profit

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BEIJING/SHANGHAI, April 28 (Reuters) - CITIC Securities Co , China’s biggest brokerage by assets, reported a 26.7% rise in first-quarter net profit on Wednesday, led by strong growth in commission fees.

Net profit in the January-March period rose to 5.2 billion yuan ($802.06 million) from 4.1 billion yuan a year earlier, the company said in a filing to Shanghai Stock Exchange.

UBS had forecast a net profit of 5.64 billion yuan for the quarter.

Chinese investors were pouring money into stocks through funds as the benchmark CSI 300 index flirted with record highs at the beginning of the year amid signs of a strong economic recovery.

Shares prices moderated subsequently as investors’ enthusiasm faded due to concerns that China’s central bank might tighten policy, after the government set a more modest growth target for this year.

The CSI 300 has lost 1.8% so far this year and the benchmark Shanghai Composite index is down 0.5%.

CITIC said its brokerage fees rose by 53.6% to 8.1 billion yuan during the quarter, while its net interest fees jumped by 240.6% to 1.1 billion yuan.

Last month, the brokerage reported a 21.9% rise in 2020 profit thanks to strong gains in securities investments. ($1 = 6.4833 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Zhang Yan, Cheng Leng and Engen Tham; Editing by Andrew Heavens & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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