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Christmas rally lifts China stocks

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christmas December 23, 2011 (Chinavestor) China stocks advanced in Asia on Friday following better than expected economic news from the U.S. The Hang Seng Index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSI) rose 250.9 points or 1.3% while the Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001) bounced off 52 week lows. The rally was universal among industry leaders in Hong Kong for all but one component of the Xinhua 25 China Index rose. This bodes well for the most liquid Chinese ETF, the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index (NYSE:FXI). Yanzhou Coal Mining ((HKG:1171) and China Life Insurance (HKG:2628) were among the best performing China stocks in Hong Kong before the Christmas break. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange will be closed December 26 and 27 and will resume trading on December 28, Wednesday.

Shares of Yanzhou Coal Mining (HKG:1171) surged the most among 42 components of the Hang Seng Index after the company won approval to acquire Gloucester Coal Ltd. for $2.1 billion, gaining access to a port in Australia and additional coal mines. Shares of China Life Insurance (HKG:2628) rose on outlook for the market for 2012 for Chinese insurers derive over 10% of their net income from investment related activities. Airliner and energy companies rose as well as value players snapped up oversold assets. Air China (HKG:0753), the country's flagship carrier, rose the most among 25 components of the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index (NYSE:FXI). Chinese airliners got hammered in December making a case for value buyers before the end of the year. But metal stocks lacked momentum as commodity prices plummeted on a stronger dollar. Aluminum Corp. of China (HKG:2600), the third largest maker of the metal in the world, advanced a modest 0.6%, half that of the broad market. Zijin Mining (HKG:2899), China's largest gold miner, was also among the five sleepiest components of the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index (NYSE:FXI) as risk appetite returned.

Most stocks advanced on the mainland as well. Stocks that advanced outnumbered those that fell ten to one among the 50 largest components of the Shanghai Composite Index. But volume was low suggesting the market is still looking for direction in China.

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