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SHANGHAI: China shares posted a third straight weekly gain on Friday amid market support measures, while investors awaited more stimulus cues from a key political gathering in Beijing next week. Hong Kong stocks also rose.

China’s blue-chip CSI300 Index ended 0.6% higher, having bounced nearly 14% from the five-year lows hit a month ago. The Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.4%.

Hong Kong’s share benchmark Hang Seng climbed 0.5%, led by tech stocks, which gained 1.7%.

For the week, the CSI300 rose 1.4%, but the Hang Seng slipped 0.8%.

Sentiment in China’s stock market improved after the securities watchdog undertook a raft of measures to revive confidence, including fresh curbs on short-selling and a crackdown on trading misbehaviours.

“We also believe that the massive global fund outflows we saw throughout the past several quarters has largely completed,” Morgan Stanley said in a note explaining the rebound.

But underlining the need for more stimulus, China’s manufacturing activity in February contracted for a fifth straight month.

Moody’s Analytics expects more support measures to be announced during the annual gathering of the National People’s Congress that starts on March 5. They include a spending package to aid real estate and manufacturing, and direct handouts to households to boost consumption.

Most sectors rose in China. An index tracking defence security index rose 2.5%, while artificial intelligence stocks jumped 3.9%.

But real estate stocks in China and Hong Kong fell amid signs the sector is yet to find a bottom.

Contract sales volume for China’s top 100 developers contracted sharply by 58.6% in February from a year earlier, suggesting “a further deterioration in the property market at the start of 2024,” Nomura said in a note.

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