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Market stalls at 3,000-point hurdle

SHANGHAI'S key stock index soared at the beginning of trading but ended lower at the close today as the index met technical resistance at 3,000 points.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.54 percent, or 15.95 points, to close at 2,959.36 points, after touching a high of 2,997.27 points. Losers outnumbered gainers 564 to 273 while 9 remained unchanged. Turnover rose slightly to 143.7 billion yuan (US$21.13 billion) from 136.9 billion yuan on the previous trading day.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was down 0.65 percent to close at 962.27 points.

Shares opened higher, led by oil producers after the National Development and Reform Commission raised the gasoline and diesel prices by 9 percent and 10 percent respectively, the second time in one month, to track higher crude oil rates. But the local benchmark index began to fluctuate as investors divided on the trend when it climbed to around 3,000 points.

Steel producers were sluggish, leading the losses, after steel price rises slowed. Baoshan Iron & Steel Co, the country's largest steelmaker, retreated 2.76 percent to 7.04 yuan. Wuhan Iron & Steel Co lost 2.72 percent to 7.88 yuan and Angang Steel Co, China's second-biggest steel maker, withdrew 3.01 percent to 13.19 yuan.

Automakers were weak. SAIC Motor Corp tumbled 4.11 percent to 14.95 yuan. Dongfeng Automobile Co was down 1.87 percent to 4.72 yuan. Beiqi Foton Motor Co slumped 3.92 percent to 13.25 yuan.

Oil and coal producers bucked the downward trend. PetroChina, the biggest component index and China's top oil producer, edged up 0.28 percent to 14.48 yuan. Sinopec, Asia's largest oil refiner, expanded 0.66 percent to 10.66 yuan. Datong Coal Industry Co surged 4.33 percent to 36.38 yuan. Pingdingshan Tianan Coal Mining Co jumped 1.15 percent to 28.91 yuan. China Shenhua Energy Co, Asia's largest coal producer, increased 0.3 percent to 29.91 yuan.


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