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Key index loses steam and ends lower

GAINS in Shanghai's key stock index over the last five trading days came to an abrupt halt when it ended lower yesterday.

The Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.08 percent, or 1.92 points, to close at 2,534.13 points. Turnover edged up to 175.3 billion yuan (US$25.6 billion) compared to 173.4 billion yuan on Wednesday.

"The index has been adjusting within a small range for three days and a rather high turnover suggests that adjustments will continue in the near future," said GF Securities.

China's Consumer Price Index, a main gauge of inflation, fell 1.2 percent year on year in March, the National Bureau of Statistics disclosed yesterday. The CPI fell 1.6 percent in February, the first monthly fall since December 2002. The inflation barometer shed 0.6 percent year on year in the first quarter.

China's economy grew by 6.1 percent year on year in the first quarter. The quarterly growth rate was the lowest in 10 years. It was 4.5 percentage points lower than the first quarter of 2008.

Banks showed mixed results, with China Minsheng Banking Co Ltd surging 4.45 percent to 5.87 yuan while China Merchants Bank Co added 0.93 percent to 16.27 yuan. Bank of Communications lost 0.29 percent to end at 6.92 yuan.


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