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Bright figures fail to set market on fire

SHANGHAI'S key stock index remained almost flat today despite macro-economic figures released this morning pointing to a strengthened economic recovery.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.21 percent, or 6.95 points, to close at 3,247.32 points, sending the gauge to a 2.1 percent weekly loss. Turnover kept shrinking to 107.6 billion yuan (US$15.82 billion) from 112.6 billion yuan on Thursday. Losers outnumbered gainers 511 to 341 and 30 stocks remained unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was down 0.11 percent to close at 1,218.74 points.

China's industrial production climbed 19.2 percent in November from a year ago, the National Bureau of Statistics said in Beijing today. It remarked the biggest increase since June 2007 and beat an 18.2 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 25 economists.

Consumer price index, the main gauge of consumer inflation, rose 0.6 percent last month on a yearly basis, the first increase in 10 months, according to the statistics bureau.

The figures signaled a stabilized and strengthening recovery, shored up by the government's four-trillion-yuan stimulus package and record bank loans.

However, shrinking turnover indicated faster factory output, better-than-expected bank lending and other financial data failed to boost investor enthusiasm.

"Previous gains seemed to be excessive compared with the pace of economic recovery. There is no shining point to give a boost to shares," said Chen Danrong, a Shiji Investment Management Co analyst. "Besides, the positive consumer price index has increased expectations of inflation."

Lenders showed mixed performance after the People's Bank of China said China banks extended 294.8 billion yuan in new loans in November, compared with 253 billion yuan in October.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd retreated 0.2 percent to 5.23 yuan. China Construction Bank Corp eased 0.2 percent to 6.03 yuan and Bank of China fell 0.2 percent to 4.16 yuan. China Merchants Bank Co gained 0.7 percent to 17.62 yuan.

Baoshan Iron & Steel Co rose 0.6 percent to 9.17 yuan after the parent raised prices for January delivery, the first time in four months. Maanshan Iron & Steel Co, China's fourth-largest listed steel maker, jumped 2 percent to 5.17 yuan. Xinjiang Ba Yi Iron & Steel Co increased 2.6 percent to 14.75 yuan.


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