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China, HK stocks gain on border reopening, Beijing’s support for internet sector

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SHANGHAI — China and Hong Kong stocks advanced on Monday, as a full reopening of the world’s second-biggest economy over the weekend added fuel to the already heated bets of a robust recovery from the pandemic.

** Sentiment also got a boost by a central banker’s pledge to support the internet sector, as well as an overhaul at Ant Group that saw its founder Jack Ma cede control of the fintech giant.

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** China’s blue-chip CSI300 Index gained 0.7% by the lunch break and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.5%.

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** Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 1.6%, led by technology shares.

** Lifting risk appetite, China opened sea and land crossings with Hong Kong on Sunday and ended a requirement for incoming travelers to quarantine, dismantling a final pillar of a zero-COVID policy that had cut Chinese people off from the rest of the world.

** Ralph Hamers, group chief executive officer at UBS, told the bank’s annual Greater China Conference on Monday that he sees signs of recovery in China, where authorities moved to stabilize the struggling property market and scrapped stringent COVID-19 curbs.

** “The ending of the zero-COVID policy is … going to have a major positive impact on domestic spending,” Hamers said in the opening remarks. “We believe there is a lot of opportunity for those committed to investing in China.”

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** Chinese internet stocks rose while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Tech Index jumped 2.8% after Guo Shuqing, Communist Party secretary of the People’s Bank of China, told state media that China’s clampdown on the internet sector is coming to an end.

** Meanwhile, shares of listed Chinese companies that count Ant Group as a major shareholder – including Longshine Technology and Hundsun Technologies – gained after announcements that Ant founder Jack Ma is giving up control of the fintech giant following an overhaul.

** Hong Kong-traded shares of Alibaba Group jumped as much as 8.3% to a near six-month high.

** “The rapprochement between the government and the private sector bodes well for the Internet platforms,” Sean Darby, chief global equity strategist at Jefferies wrote in a note. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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