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Finance sector brings boost to market

SHANGHAI'S key stock index reversed the morning's losses with strong performance by the finance sector after the government announced that the growth enterprise board would be launched on May 1.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.64 percent, or 15.17 points, to close at 2,373.21 points. Turnover was 135.2 billion yuan (US$19.8 billion). Gainers outnumbered losers 481 to 368 and 59 remained unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, edged up 0.86 percent to close at 784.06 points.

China's stock regulator issued new rules early today to prepare for the launch of a long-awaited Nasdaq-style second board after May 1 in a key step to support start-up firms starved of cash because of slowing economic growth. Domestic high-technology companies were strong after the regulations were announced. Yantai Wanhua Polyurethanes Co Ltd surged the daily limit of 10 percent to 15.95 yuan. Beijing CCID Media Investment Co Ltd also jumped 10 percent to 5.04 yuan. Shanghai Fudan
Forward S&T Co, which have investments in high-technology units, advanced 3.03 percent to 10.88 yuan.

China Life Insurance Co Ltd, the country's largest life insurance company, surged 4.22 percent to 22.99 yuan. China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co Ltd surged the daily cap of 10 percent to 16.78 yuan.

Baoshan Iron & Steel Co lost 1.03 percent to close at 5.74 yuan after the nation's biggest steelmaker said second-quarter product prices will stay at "low levels." Angang Steel Co, China's second-largest steelmaker by market value, lost 1.90 percent to 8.24 yuan.

Jiangxi Copper Co, the country's top producer of the metal, lost 1.45 percent to 23.10 yuan. Yunnan Copper Co buckled 2.59 percent to 21.09 yuan.

China State Shipbuilding Co, the country's biggest shipbuilder, said 2008 profit increased 49 percent as it delivered ships contracted at higher prices. Its shares however dropped 1.76 percent to 56.24 yuan.

Cosco Shipping Co, a unit of China's biggest shipping company, said its 2008 net profit rose 35 percent as a result of an increased number of shipments. The stock fell 0.52 percent to 9.63 yuan.


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