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SHANGHAI: China stocks ended higher on Friday, posting 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 blue-chip CSI300 index rose 1.0% to 5,161.56, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.5% to 3,484.39.

Leading the gains, the CSI300 consumer staples index firmed 3.9%, while the CSI semiconductors & semiconductor equipment index advanced 5.3% on chip shortage worries. For the week, CSI300 climbed 2.5%, while SSEC increased 1.9%.

“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 also no need to worry about fundamentals thanks to solid corporate earnings, adding he was 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.

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