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Haitong sees 40% slump in profits

HAITONG Securities Co, China's second-biggest brokerage by market value, said 2008 profit fell almost 40 percent as the stock-market slump crimped earnings.

Net income dropped to 3.3 billion yuan (US$483 million), or 0.40 yuan a share, from 5.45 billion yuan, or an adjusted 0.66 yuan a share, a year earlier, the Shanghai-based company said in a preliminary earnings statement yesterday. Sales fell 38 percent.

China's benchmark CSI 300 Index slid 66 percent last year on concern slowing economic growth would hurt corporate profits, cutting income at brokerages as turnover and stock sales shrank. China's exports fell the most in almost a decade in December as the deepening recession cut demand, Customs officials said, Bloomberg News reported.

"The figures came out largely in line with our expectations as the market remained low," said Jian Stephen Sun, a Shanghai-based analyst at Shenyin Wanguo Securities Co. "Still, Haitong should be among the better ones."

Guoyuan Securities Co, the nation's fifth-largest brokerage, said last year's profit plunged 77 percent to 52 million yuan.

CITIC Securities Co, China's biggest brokerage by market value, is set to report earnings on March 17.


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