Chinese stocks came home with a wet sail

They may have left it late, but Chinese investors flocked back to the nation’s stock market on Thursday.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index jumped 1.76% to 3,954.78.

At one point during the session it had been down as much as 1.24%.

Just another normal session for the Composite, right?

All sectors finished in the black with the strongest gains coming from utilities, IT and materials.

While all other major indices across China finished with gains, there was a noticeable divergence with small cap stocks outperforming their larger peers.

The SSE 50, that containing the 50-largest firms by market cap in Shanghai, closed up 0.78% while the CSI 300, comprising the 300-largest listed firms in Shanghai and Shenzhen, gaining 1.48%.

In comparison the CSI 500, Shenzhen Composite and ChiNext indices, brimming with small-cap stocks, all finished with gains in excess of 2%.

What exactly drove the late rally in stocks is, as usual, unclear.

Earlier in the session China’s central bank – the PBOC – held a press conference where they stated there was no need for further depreciation in the yuan given strong economic fundamentals, adding the currency could resume its appreciation in the future.

They also refuted claims that the decision to allow the yuan to weaken was an attempt to assist its trade-orientated sectors.

Despite those assurances, the yuan continued to weaken during the session.

Having been fixed by the PBOC at 6.4010 earlier in the day, the USD/CNY rose to as high as 6.4422 (weaker yuan) before strengthening modestly later in the session.

With just over a hour of trade to go the pair currently sits at 6.4179.

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