SHANGHAI, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Industrial and materials stocks lifted China stocks on Thursday, which some analysts said was aided by hopes there will be significant changes to open up the economy more widely to foreign investors.
The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.5 percent, to 3,721.28, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.7 percent to 3,268.43 points.
Late on Wednesday, China's cabinet said the country will become more open for global investors, citing sectors of new-energy vehicle manufacturing, ship design, aircraft maintenance and railway passenger transportation. Details were not given.
"The measures to ease foreign investment restrictions came after the U.S. announced its probe of China's intellectual property practices, and the prospect of lifting foreign investment is having a significant effect on the market," said Zhang Gang, an analyst at Southwest Securities in Beijing.
Shipbuilder China CSSC Holdings Ltd finished the day up 6.0 percent.
Strong performance in industrials was led by China Nuclear Engineering Corp Ltd, which rose by the daily limit of 10 percent. On Wednesday, the company said that newly signed contracts in the first seven months increased 17.2 percent from the previous year.
Trade was most active in materials firms. Aluminum Corp of China (Chalco) shares, the day's most heavily traded, finished up 1.1 percent.
Chalco is due to release first-half interim results later on Thursday. Aluminium prices have reached multi-year highs on expectations of supply curbs as China reforms its metals industry.
After dragging on indexes in the morning session, technology companies found their footing in the afternoon. The technology-heavy ChiNext board ended the day up 0.5 percent.
Voice recognition software maker iFlytek Co Ltd rose 2.4 percent, taking its gains for this week to 24.1 percent.
China CSI300 stock index futures for August rose 0.7 percent, to 3,719, 2.87 points below the current value of the underlying index. (Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Richard Borsuk)