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Falling metals weigh down market

SHANGHAI'S key stock index ended lower today, led by commodity producers after metal prices fell.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.62 percent, or 15.36 points, to close at 2,448.59 points.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was down 0.49 percent to close at 821.17 points.

Jiangxi Copper Co, China's biggest producer of the metal, tumbled 4.17 percent to 23.42 yuan after copper futures for July delivery posted the sharpest four-day slide since December 5.

Copper futures for July delivery dropped 3.4 percent to US$1.991 a pound in New York yesterday. That leaves the metal down 9.4 percent so far this week.

Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Co, the No. 2, slid 3.51 percent to 14.28 yuan.

Henan Yuguang Gold & Lead Co, the world's biggest lead producer, said first-quarter profit dropped 75 percent to 12.9 million yuan because of lower metal prices. The stock edged down 0.6 percent to 13.36 yuan.

ZTE Corp, China's second-biggest phone-equipment maker, dipped 0.13 percent to 37.35 yuan despite its said first-quarter profit rose 29 percent from a year earlier to 78.7 million yuan. Sales increased 35 percent as the nation's carriers bought more equipment for new high-speed mobile phone networks.

Guangzhou Shipyard International Co, the smaller unit of China's biggest shipbuilder, said first-quarter profit fell 50 percent to 129.3 million yuan because of higher prices for steel plates. The stock eased 1.98 percent to 22.79 yuan.

Bucking the downward trend, China Life Insurance Co, the nation's biggest insurer, added 0.04 percent to 23.51 yuan after first-quarter profit increased 55 percent to 5.4 billion yuan (US$790 million) as the stock market's rally this year boosted investment returns.


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