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Key index takes a beating to end at more than 3% lower

SHANGHAI'S key stock index lost more than 3 percent yesterday as financial shares and construction companies plunged.

The Shanghai Composite Index buckled 3.39 percent, or 74.26 points, to close at 2,118.75. Turnover was 103.7 billion yuan (US$15.16 billion). Losers outnumbered gainers 777 to 99, and 32 stocks were unchanged.

"The index is still fluctuating within a reasonable range, and it may lower to close at 2,000 points in the future," according to a research note by United Securities.

Anhui Conch Cement Co said it planned to spend at least 20 billion yuan over five years to boost its production capacity. Its shares sank 6.39 percent to 32.51 yuan. Jiangxi Wannianqing Cement Co slid 8.97 percent to 7.10 yuan, and Fujian Cement Inc buckled 8.1 percent to 6.01 yuan.

Guoyuan Securities said in a statement that its planned share sale was terminated after the time limit on the transaction expired. Its shares plunged 9.03 percent to 14.01 yuan. Haitong Securities lost 6.25 percent to 11.85 yuan, and Sinolink Securities fell 6.1 percent to 28.02 yuan.

Commodity producers slumped after gold and copper prices declined.

Shandong Gold dropped 7.5 percent to 66.87 yuan. Zhongjin Gold Corp declined 6.5 percent to 48.15 yuan. Jiangxi Copper sank 8.2 percent to 16.10 yuan, while Yunnan Copper Industry Co retreated 7.1 percent to 13.30 yuan.

Gold for immediate delivery fell as much as 0.5 percent, to US$935.10 an ounce. Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange fell as much as 1.6 percent to US$3,660 a ton yesterday, after stockpiles of the metal in China climbed to the highest in more than seven months.

SAIC Motor Corp, the country's biggest domestic car maker, lost 5.6 percent after its President Chen Hong said China's vehicle sales growth may slow in the first quarter.


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