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Financial sector leads Shanghai shares lower

SHANGHAI'S key stock index closed lower today as the financial sector dropped due to a pessimistic profit outlook.

The Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.45 percent, or 8.66 points, to 1,920.21 points. Turnover reached 83.2 billion yuan (US$12.18 billion), up from yesterday's 64.2 billion yuan. Gainers outnumbered losers 540 to 298 and 70 remained unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, edged up 0.31 percent, or 1.85 points, to 595.87 points.

The State Council yesterday approved tax cuts, subsidies, research and development funding and other measures to help boost the auto and steel industries during the economic downturn.

Baoshan Iron & Steel Co, China's biggest steel maker, dipped 0.78 percent to 5.09 yuan. Angang Steel Co Ltd lowered 0.78 percent to 7.63 yuan. SAIC Motor Co, China's largest car maker, was down 1.64 percent to 5.98 yuan. FAW Car Co lost 2.09 percent to 8.45 yuan.

China Construction Bank lost 2.37 percent to 3.70 yuan. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the nation's biggest lender, retreated 2.24 percent to 3.49 yuan. Bank of China was down 1.34 percent to 2.95 yuan.

The country's two largest oil refiners also dropped after China cut fuel prices for the second time in a month, in order to keep in line with drops in global oil prices. PetroChina, the biggest component index, lost 1.07 percent to 10.13 yuan. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, Asia's largest refiner and also known as Sinopec, decreased 0.97 percent to 7.17 yuan.

Telecommunications and 3G related companies gained today.

C&T Technology Development Co Ltd surged the daily limit of 10 percent to 3.88 yuan. Beijing Zhongchuang Telecom Test Co Ltd hiked 6.01 percent to 12.00 yuan. ZTE Corporation was up 2.55 percent to close at 27.36 yuan.

Real estate developers also gained in the afternoon session. Beijing Vantone Real Estate Co Ltd advanced 4.33 percent to 9.15 yuan. Hainan Haide Industry Co Ltd surged the daily limit of 10 percent to 4.36 yuan. Gemdale Corporation added 2.80 percent to 7.34 yuan.

China Southern Airlines Co, the nation's biggest carrier by fleet size, said it will see a full-year loss for 2008 as the global financial crisis hurt demand for air travel. Its shares were up 2.68 percent to 3.45 yuan.

Haitong Securities Co, the country's second-largest listed brokerage by market value, said its profit for 2008 dropped 39 percent to 3.3 billion yuan. Its shares jumped 3.67 percent to 10.18 yuan.


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