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Key stock index plunges over 4%

SHANGHAI'S key stock index dropped over 4 percent yesterday as heavyweights and the financial sector tumbled.

The Shanghai Composite Index buckled 4.56 percent, or 105.12 points, to 2,200.65 points. Losers outnumbered gainers 725 to 152 and 31 stocks were unchanged. Turnover rose to 158.4 billion yuan (US$23.17 billion) from 138.6 billion yuan the previous trading day.

PetroChina, the biggest component in the index, buckled 4.11 percent to 10.96 yuan and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, Asia's largest refiner, lost 6.67 percent to 8.12 yuan.

Banks and the financial sector lost, with the Bank of China off 4.19 percent to 3.2 yuan while the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the nation's biggest lender, fell 3.9 percent to 3.7 yuan. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank slumped 6.54 percent to 16.43 yuan and China Construction Bank shed 4.9 percent to close at 4.08 yuan.

Haitong Securities, China's second-largest listed brokerage by market value, tumbled by the 10 percent daily cap to 12.33 yuan. Sinolink Securities fell 7.29 percent to 30.39 yuan while Citic Securities Co Ltd plunged 9.83 percent to 22.38 yuan.

"The index is most likely to continue fluctuating in the near future and would drop if there were no positive measures or sufficient capital to support the market," a research note by Donghai Securities said.

Property developers retreated after yesterday's gains following a report by the People's Bank of China on Monday which said that the number of people willing to buy property over the next three months had dropped to the lowest level in 10 years.

China Vanke Co, the nation's largest listed property developer, dived 3.33 percent to 7.83 yuan.


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