SHANGHAI, Aug 1 (Reuters) - China blue chips ended at a 19-month high on Tuesday, led by strong gains in heavyweight financial firms, as investors cheered a private survey showing the country's factory activity accelerated in July.
China's blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.9 percent to finish at 3,770.38 points, its highest close since December 2015.
The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.6 percent to 3,292.64 points. In July, the CSI300 advanced 2.0 percent, while the SSEC gained 2.5 percent.
Growth in China's manufacturing picked up pace in July, a private survey showed on Tuesday, as output and new orders rose at the fastest pace since February on strong export sales.
The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 51.1 in July, above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction, and well above June's 50.4, which was also the median projection from 21 analysts in a Reuters survey.
Alleviating concerns that Beijing's deleveraging efforts could hurt economic growth, a top official at the nation's central bank said it will continue to force financial institutions to cut debt but ensure the process is smooth and orderly to limit the impact on market liquidity.
In sharp contrast with continued gains in blue-chips, start-ups remained sluggish, with the start-up board index up 0.3 percent on Tuesday after notching a loss of 4.5 percent in July.
Last Thursday, the index rose 3.62 percent, its best day in 14 months, raising hopes start-ups could rebound after their sustained weakness in the past two years.
But many analysts expect little prospect of a reversal of fortunes at those firms amid concerns over their falling profit growth and a fast pace of initial public offerings.
Most sectors firmed, with financials leading the gains, while material plays took a breather.
Shares of listed firms, including developer Financial Street Holdings in which Anbang Insurance Group holds major stakes, were underpinned after Anbang said it had no plans to sell its overseas assets. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch; Editing by Lisa Twaronite and Richard Borsuk)