Soufun Leads Gain as Chinese Cities Loosen Home Buy Rules

China’s real-estate listing service providers rose in New York, driving the benchmark index to a three-year high, amid signs more cities in Asia’s largest economy are loosening limits on property purchases to halt a slide in home prices.

SouFun Holdings Ltd., the country’s biggest real-estate information website, gained for a third day while E-House China Holdings Ltd. climbed 5.3 percent to a three-month high. Commodity stocks also rallied with Aluminum Corp. of China surging the most since April as prices for the metal surged in London. The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index added 1.9 percent to 110.54 yesterday, the highest since August 2011.

Cities such as Hohhot in northern China and Jinan in the east are loosening restrictions on house purchases as government data last week showed new-home prices fell in 55 of the country’s 70 largest cities in June, the highest ratio since January 2011. The central bank in May called on the nation’s biggest lenders to accelerate the granting of mortgages and urged them to give priority to first-home buyers.

“We may be close to near-term bottom of the property sector,” Michael Wang, an emerging-markets strategist at Amiya Capital LLP, said by e-mail from London. The easing measures “obviously help commodities, cement and property stocks. The economy should look OK from a growth perspective, and we should see another sequential acceleration.”

ETF Advances

The iShares China Large-Cap ETF, the largest Chinese exchange-traded fund in the U.S., climbed 2.3 percent to $39.07, a seven-month high. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index advanced 0.5 percent as data showed U.S. inflation failed to gain a toehold and earnings from Comcast Corp. to Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. topped estimates.

American depositary receipts of Beijing-based SouFun added 3.2 percent to $10.82, the highest level in six weeks. E-House, based in Shanghai, surged to $10.53. Its unit Leju Holdings Ltd. advanced 3.7 percent to $12.06, extending gains into a third day. Xinyuan Real Estate Co., a developer based in Beijing, jumped 5.3 percent to $4.01, the biggest advance since March.

About 40 Chinese cities have eased home-purchase restrictions. Wenzhou City in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang removed its curb on housing purchases in June via verbal notice, the National Business Daily reported yesterday, citing an unidentified executive with a property developer. Suzhou City, a tourist town in the east, also relaxed some limits for buying homes, the Xinhua News Agency reported July 21.

Aluminum Shortage

The Shanghai Stock Exchange Property Index, which tracks 24 developers listed on the city’s exchange, rose 0.8 percent yesterday to the highest level since April 25.

Aluminum rose 1.1 percent to $2,043 a ton on the London Metal Exchange yesterday, after reaching $2,054.75, the highest since February 2013. Stockpiles of the metal declined for a 15th session to 4.94 million tons, the least since September 2012.

Aluminum Corp., the nation’s biggest producer of the metal, known as Chalco, rallied 6.8 percent to $10.71. Yanzhou Coal Mining Co., based in Shandong province, climbed 3.3 percent to $7.59 in New York, rallying the most since May 21.

New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc., China’s biggest private educational company, tumbled 13 percent in New York to a one-year low of $21.01.

The Beijing-based company said in a statement yesterday that revenue for the June-August quarter will be between $412 million and $427.5 million, falling short of the $463.2 million average of five analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index rallied 2.4 percent to a six-month high of 10,605.22. The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1 percent to 2,075.48, gaining the most in a month.

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