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Lower ore prices depress market

SHANGHAI'S key stock index ended slightly lower today, dragged down by losses of commodity producers on lower metal and crude prices.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.28 percent, or 8.53 points, to close at 2,995.31 points. Turnover shrank to 114.6 billion yuan (US$16.9 billion) from 119 billion yuan on Wednesday. Gainers outnumbered losers 559 to 303 and 35 stocks remained unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was up 0.28 percent to close at 1,119.77 points.

Aluminum Corp of China, the nation's biggest maker of the lightweight metal, retreated 1.7 percent to 12.53 yuan. Jiangxi Copper Co decreased 2.8 percent to 34.64 yuan. Baoshan Iron & Steel Co eased 0.5 percent to 7.6 yuan. Angang Steel Co slid 2.2 percent to 11.64 yuan and Wuhan Iron & Steel Co was down 0.9 percent to 6.71 yuan.

PetroChina, the biggest component of the index, was off 1 percent to 12.91 yuan. Sinopec, Asia's largest oil refiner, fell 1.3 percent to 11.19 yuan.

"Resources sectors will be under pressure this year as they have been overvalued in the bull market in 2009 and possible tighter monetary policy is seen to weigh on commodity prices further," said Kang Hongtao, an analyst from Guoyuan Securities Co.

Hotels and tourism shares bucked the downward trend before a booming travel season during the Spring Festival. Shanghai Jinjiang International Hotels Development Co, the nation's largest hotel operator, rallied 3.4 percent to 26.36 yuan. China United Travel Co advanced 7.6 percent to 7.1 yuan. Tibet Tourism Co soared 10 percent to 12.96 yuan.


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