Share prices on the Shenzhen stock market surged yesterday on optimism the exchange's fourth annual meeting on Thursday will lead to co-operation with its counterpart in Hong Kong. The Shenzhen A-Share Index rose to 287.98 points - its highest level this year - on a record turnover of 11.2 billion yuan (about HK$10.41 billion). 'Investors expect a big break for the exchange's future direction, spurred by plans to co-operate with Hong Kong's exchange,' Zhan Yuying, assistant general manager with Ping An Insurance Co's securities research, said. Analysts said the two-day meeting would map out the future development blueprint for the exchange, including the strategy to position itself in the run-up to Hong Kong's return to China next year. 'This is a milestone for Shenzhen's development. The prospect is there for Shenzhen and Hong Kong to forge ties in the financial sectors,' Yu Jun, a Great Wall Securities general manager, said. Another analyst said: 'I am not surprised to see the exchange come up with ideas or proposals on co-operation with Hong Kong's exchange. Whether it will bear fruit, however, remains to be seen.' Next year's handover, together with interest-rate cuts in May and August, put the Shenzhen stock market on steroids this year. The Shenzhen A Share Index has risen 161.8 per cent this year, after putting on 11.43 points or 4.13 per cent, yesterday. The Shenzhen B-Share Index gained 1.13 points, or 1.27 per cent, to 89.65 points. It has risen 52 per cent this year. In yesterday's trading, A shares accounted for 10.45 billion yuan and B shares, 28.13 million yuan. Bonds and investment funds took up the remainder. Turnover in A and B shares on the Shanghai exchange was 2.66 billion yuan. 'Investors are very bullish about the outlook of Shenzhen's stock market,' Mr Zhan said. In all, 16 Shenzhen-listed companies suffered losses in the first half, compared with 11 in Shanghai. 'The worst is over for companies,' Mr Zhan said.