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Dismal corporate earnings hit index

SHANGHAI'S key stock index dipped yesterday as corporate earnings were hurt by the global credit crunch and the economic slowdown.

The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.69 percent to close at 2,358.04. Turnover shrank to 126.97 billion yuan (US$18.67 billion) from 162.37 billion yuan a day earlier.

''The risks for shares are accumulating as earnings figures for the first quarter might weigh down the market,'' China International Capital Corporation wrote in a research note.

Wan Bing, an analyst with GF Securities Co, said that ''insurance, steel, nonferrous metals and oil-related sectors corrected after previous gains as investors sold off to take profits. Though financial shares performed mixed, they are expected to lead the index up after they stabilize.''

Aluminum Corp of China tumbled 3.76 percent to 10.49 yuan after it disclosed it would post a loss in the first quarter due to lower metal prices and output. Baoshan Iron and Steel Co lost 2.52 percent to 5.8 yuan as profit for last year nearly halved after steel prices fell, missing analysts' median estimates. Minmetals Development Co dived 7.19 percent to 19.23 yuan after it said 2008 profit shrank 38 percent to 895 million yuan.

China Construction Bank, the country's second largest lender by assets, dipped 1.15 percent to 4.31 yuan.


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