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Liquidity fears send market slightly lower

SHANGHAI'S key stock index closed slightly lower today on concerns over tightened market liquidity.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.38 percent, or 12.06 points, to close at 3,141.35 points, sending the gauge to a weekly loss of 0.9 percent. Turnover shrank to 101.5 billion yuan (US$14.9) from 123.3 billion yuan on Thursday. Gainers outnumbered losers 469 to 362 and 33 stocks remained unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was up 0.19 percent to close at 1,168.17 points.

"The transaction volume fell as China National Chemical Engineering offered shares online and the second batch of eight start-up companies started trading on ChiNext today. As a result, the stock market had a lukewarm performance," said Wen Lijun, a Nanjing Securities Co analyst.

China National Chemical Engineering, which plans to raise up to 6.7 billion yuan in a Shanghai initial public offering, opened subscriptions for retail and institutional investors yesterday.

Analysts also said the slack performance came as investors took a wait-and-see attitude as some overseas markets were closed during the Christmas holiday.

Sluggish heavyweights dragged down the market. PetroChina, the country's largest oil producer, withdrew 0.7 percent to 13.22 yuan. Sinopec edged down 0.3 percent to 13.31 yuan.

Commodity producers were among the losers. Jiangxi Copper Co was down 1.6 percent to 37.98 yuan. Aluminum Corp of China lost 1.1 percent to 14.09 yuan. Shandong Gold Mining Co retreated 3 percent to 78.81 yuan. Zijin Mining Group Co, the country's largest gold producer, slid 1.9 percent to 9.47 yuan.

China Shenhua Energy Co withdrew 1.3 percent to 32.79 yuan. Yanzhou Coal Mining Co fell 1 percent to 22.85 yuan. China Coal Energy Co dipped 1 percent to 13.15 yuan.


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