(Yicai Global) Feb. 1 -- China's stock markets extended gains after a strong opening this morning despite the latest economic data showing that the nation's manufacturing sector remains in contraction.
The trading volume has been relatively light as today is the last trading day before the Chinese New Year holiday. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index went into lunch 0.77 percent higher at 2,604.57 points while the Shenzhen Component Index gained 1.74 percent at 7,609.15. Small-cap technology-related stocks have been the strongest performers so far today with the ChiNext Price Index, Shenzhen's growth enterprise tracker, up 2.35 percent at 1,256.89.
China's Caixin Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index for January slid to its lowest point since February 2016, indicating that business performance among the country's small enterprises is below expectations and they remain in contraction.
Investors took the less-than-ideal economic data in their stride, partly because the latest round of China-US trade talks made "important progress," according to the state-backed Xinhua News Agency. The two sides enjoyed "candid, specific and fruitful" discussions.
The two sides have also made a timetable and plan for the next round of negotiations, according to Xinhua.