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Oil producers help boost morning market at midday

SHANGHAI'S key stock index closed higher in morning trading with oil producers gaining.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.52 percent, or 11.02 points, to close at 2,129.76 points. Turnover was 33.9 billion yuan (US$4.96 billion). Gainers outnumbered losers 643 to 218 and 47 remained unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, added 0.59 percent to close at 690.53 points.

China's Consumer Price Index for February lowered 1.6 percent from the same period last year, the first time in six years. The Producer Price Index was down 4.5 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics announced this morning.

PetroChina, the biggest component index, rose 1.51 percent to 10.75 yuan - crude oil prices have gained since the end of last month. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, Asia's largest refiner, was up 1.35 percent to 8.26 yuan.

China Eastern Airlines Corp, the nation's third-largest carrier by fleet size, said its parent won a further 2 billion yuan in aid from the government. Its shares added 3.10 percent to 4.66 yuan.

Banks were among the losers. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the nation's biggest lender, dipped 0.27 percent to 3.69 yuan. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank lost 1.62 percent to 18.23 yuan. China Construction Bank lowered 0.73 percent to 4.07 yuan.

China Vanke Co, the nation's biggest listed property developer, said its 2008 profit fell 17 percent after it wrote down the value of some projects. The stock lowered 2.15 percent to 7.72 yuan.

Western Mining Co, the country's fourth-largest maker of zinc concentrate, said that 2008 profit plunged 67 percent because of lower metal prices and charges from the lower value of inventories. Its shares were up 2.41 percent to 8.49 yuan.

Zhuzhou Smelter Group Co, China's biggest producer of refined zinc, said profit last year slumped 76 percent as prices collapsed and the company was forced to make provisions for losses on inventories. Its shares added 3.67 percent to 7.06 yuan.


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