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Bullish Asia before national congress

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bull_bear_4 March 2, 2012 (Chinavestor) China stocks soared on the last day of the week on March 2 buoyed by the upcoming national congress next week. The Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001) rose 1.4% on Friday making up for earlier losses for the week. The index is up 0.8% for the last five days and is trading at a level not seen since November 2011.

Investors turned bullish in Hong Kong as well, sending the Hang Seng Index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSI) 174.3 points or 0.8% higher for the day. Mainland Chinese stocks, or H-shares, led the rally for all but one component of the Xinhua 25 China Index advanced on Friday. This bodes well for the most liquid Chinese ETF, the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index (NYSE:FXI). The Hang Seng China Enterprise Index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSCEI), measuring the performance of Chines stocks listed in Hong Kong, rose 1.7%, or twice that of the broader Hang Seng Index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSI).

Investors were looking for a relaxation of property curbs at the national congress next week. Property prices fell the most in 19 months in February, a sign that Beijing was able to tame prices and may want to relax current policy to instill growth. Inflation is also under control, according to the latest statistics, giving policy makers some room to ease current policies. Some municipalities, like the city of Shanghai, has already eased property curbs on its own. Expectations run high as is evidenced by the broad surge among components of the Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001).

The rally was equally broad in hong Kong where all but two components of the 42 member Hang Seng Index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSI) advanced on Friday. Chinese shipping companies rose on export outlook as European credit crisis subdued. China COSCO (HKG:1919), the largest container shipping lane in the world, surged 5.3% while China Shipping Container Lances (HKG:2866) jumped as much as 6.9%. China Shipping Development (HKG:1138) rose 2.8% and made it to the best five components of the Hang Seng Index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSI) for the day.

China Cosco (HKG:1919) was also among the best components of the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index (NYSE:FXI) in Asia on Friday. While the company has no ADR listed on the NYSE, the ETF itself is expected to benefit. Huaneng Power (HKG:0902) and Sinopec (HKG:0386) were the best performing NYSE-HKEx cross listed companies in Hong Kong this morning.

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