MARKETS-CHINA-STOCK/CLOSE

China Shares End Modestly Up, Banks Ease After Earnings

Markets Reuters

China stocks extended gains on Thursday after the previous session's 2 percent jump, as markets took comfort in the likely prospect that U.S. interest rates will rise at a slower pace.

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Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's remarks earlier in the week that the United States should proceed cautiously as it looks to raise rates continued to prop up market sentiment.

But reflecting lingering concerns, a Reuters poll showed that Chinese fund managers slightly reduced their suggested equity exposure for the next three months.

Both the CSI300 index and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.1 percent, to 3,218.09 points and 3,003.92 points, respectively. For the month of March, both the CSI300 and SSEC indexes were up 11.8 percent.

The banking sector fell 0.3 percent, as three of China's "Big Four" state-owned banks said they were bracing for slower economic growth this year.

But transportation shares jumped more than 2 percent, reflecting optimism toward the sector, after Air China Ltd reported a 77.5 percent jump in 2015 profit on low fuel prices.

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(Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)