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Key stock index tumbles on news China foreign trade fell

SHANGHAI'S key stock index widened its losing streak yesterday, led by lenders and real estate developers, after the country's imports and exports fell for a second consecutive month.

The key Shanghai Composite Index declined 1.95 percent, or 36.98 points, to 1863.37 points.

Losers outnumbered gainers 753 to 122 while nine stocks remained unchanged. Turnover shrank to 49.3 billion yuan (US$7.2 billion), from 59.5 billion yuan on Monday.

"Disappointing corporate profitability, including that for Shenzhen Development Bank Co, added to investor concerns," said Wan Bing, an analyst at GF Securities Co. "Shares are likely to remain weak and will correct ahead of expected macro-economic figures and company earnings reports."

Data from the General Administration of Customs showed that China's foreign trade fell for a second month in a row in December. China's total trade volume dived 11.1 percent in December from a year ago after a 2.2-percent decline in November.

Shenzhen Development Bank Co led banking shares down after saying last year's profit may plunge 77 percent to about 600 million yuan as it set aside more provisions against bad loans to bolster its financial strength.

Poly Real Estate Group Co slumped 5.69 percent to 15.09 yuan and Shanghai Lujiazui Finance & Trade Zone slid 5.02 percent to 16.07 yuan.

Among advancers, auto makers gained on a news report that plans to revive the sector are pending approval from the government. SAIC Motor Co, China's largest car maker, rose 1.52 percent to 6 yuan while Dongfeng Automobile Co added 2.82 percent to 5.47 yuan.

Elsewhere, China's carriers continued to fall. China Eastern Airlines tumbled 5.41 percent to 4.2 yuan. The company said it was in talks to sell a stake in regional carrier Happy Airlines to ease its financial difficulties. Air China Ltd, the nation's largest international carrier, fell 5.19 percent to 4.2 yuan.


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