China insurers, sovereign wealth fund boost stock holdings-paper

SHANGHAI, Oct 10 (Reuters) - China's major insurancecompanies increased their combined stock holdings by more than10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) over the last three trading daysand will continue buying equities, the official ShanghaiSecurities News said on Wednesday.

The newspaper said the purchases were a concerted movetriggered by sharp falls in blue chip stocks and the report islikely to be seen as evidence that Beijing is acting to supportstock markets.

The insurers, which include China Life Insurance Co Ltd, Ping An Insurance (Group) Co of China Ltd and PICCProperty and Casualty Co Ltd , are expected to boostequity holdings by at least 40-50 billion yuan during this roundof share purchases as their exposure to stocks is near historiclows, the newspaper said.

China's stock market is down about 4 percent so far thisyear, after falling 22 percent last year.

On Tuesday, China shares posted healthy gains and liftedHong Kong markets to near a five-month high as hopes of moremarket-supporting measures from Beijing spurred rallies inlarge-cap banking and energy shares.

Separately, Central Huijin, a unit of China's sovereignwealth fund, increased holdings in Industrial and CommercialBank of China and Bank of China , by 6.3million shares and 18.8 million shares respectively during thethird quarter, the paper said.

Over the past three trading days, Ping An bought shares inChina's top four state-owned banks while PICC increased itsequity exposure mainly through buying mutual funds, thenewspaper said.($1 = 6.2878 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Kazunori Takada; Editing byEdwina Gibbs)

((samuel.shen@thomsonreuters.com)(+86 21 6104 1789)(ReutersMessaging: samuel.shen.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))