SHANGHAI, Oct 10 (Reuters) - China's major insurance companies increased their combined stock holdings by more than 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) over the last three trading days and will continue buying equities, the official Shanghai Securities News said on Wednesday.
The newspaper said the purchases were a concerted move triggered by sharp falls in blue chip stocks and the report is likely to be seen as evidence that Beijing is acting to support stock markets.
The insurers, which include China Life Insurance Co Ltd , Ping An Insurance (Group) Co of China Ltd and PICC Property and Casualty Co Ltd , are expected to boost equity holdings by at least 40-50 billion yuan during this round of share purchases as their exposure to stocks is near historic lows, the newspaper said.
China's stock market is down about 4 percent so far this year, after falling 22 percent last year.
On Tuesday, China shares posted healthy gains and lifted Hong Kong markets to near a five-month high as hopes of more market-supporting measures from Beijing spurred rallies in large-cap banking and energy shares.
Separately, Central Huijin, a unit of China's sovereign wealth fund, increased holdings in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Bank of China , by 6.3 million shares and 18.8 million shares respectively during the third quarter, the paper said.
Over the past three trading days, Ping An bought shares in China's top four state-owned banks while PICC increased its equity exposure mainly through buying mutual funds, the newspaper said. ($1 = 6.2878 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Kazunori Takada; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)
Keywords: CHINA INSURERS/STOCKS