Tech Stocks Lead China Market Higher


China stocks started the week on an upbeat tone as tech shares jumped after Premier Li Keqiang identified innovation as a key part of the economy's restructuring at the opening of the annual meeting of the country's parliament.

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The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.6 percent, to 3,446.48, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.5 percent to 3,233.87 points.

A flood of news from the opening of the National People's Congress (NPC) meeting over the weekend was interpreted by investors as positive, despite a cut in China's economic growth target this year to around 6.5 percent, from a range of 6.5-7 percent in 2016.

"Slower growth has already been priced in by the market. But the government's emphasis on innovation is sending a positive message," said Wu Kan, head of equity trading at investment firm Shanshan Finance.

Outperforming the broader market, China's tech-heavy ChiNext board jumped 1.8 percent, while an index tracking technology related sectors gained 1.5 percent.

In particular, stocks related to Artificial Intelligence (AI) soared after the sector was identified by Li as key to upgrading the economy.

Coal stocks also posted robust gains, as China vowed new cuts in steel and coal capacity.

(Reporting by Samuel Shen and John Ruwitch; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)