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SHANGHAI: China stocks ended higher on Friday, buoyed by optimism over policy support for automobile and technology sectors, even as disappointing inflation data weighed on investor sentiment. Hong Kong shares followed Asian markets higher.

The blue-chip CSI300 Index and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4% and 0.6%, respectively.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.5%, as Asia-Pacific equities rose to their highest level since mid-February following an overnight Wall Street rally.

China’s factory gate prices fell at the fastest pace in seven years in May and quicker than forecasts, as faltering demand weighed on a slowing manufacturing sector and cast a cloud over the fragile economic recovery. Consumer prices rose less than expected.

“Investor concerns over a macro recovery slowdown are still mounting,” Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients.

“With the earnings stabilization outlook and the geopolitical development, we do not believe that it makes sense to turn even more bearish on China now,” the bank said, pointing to signs of a thaw in Sino-US ties.

Shanghai’s tech-heavy STAR market jumped 2.5%, after China’s securities regulators vowed to support technology self-independence with fresh capital market policies. An index tracking China’s automobile shares rose more than 2% - the biggest one-day gain in a month - after China’s commerce ministry announced a campaign to promote car sales that will last from June to December.

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