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Real estate offers market hope

SHANGHAI'S key stock index reversed its morning losses today and ended higher, led by real estate developers after experts said the property market might pick up in the second half of the year.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.11 percent, or 2.61 points, to close at 2,463.95 points. Turnover shrank to 113.29 billion yuan (US$16.67 billion) from 177.6 billion yuan on the previous trading day.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was up 0.74 percent to close at 825.22 points.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences released a property market bluebook today and said the market is expected to turn better as China has slashed interest rates, loosened credit loans and rolled out policies to encourage house purchases.

Shanghai Industrial Development Co advanced 4.74 percent to 13.92 yuan. Gemdale Corp gained 2.04 percent to 11.01 yuan. Shanghai-based Shimao Co added 2.41 percent to 11.49 yuan. Poly Real Estate Group inched up 0.22 percent to 22.96 yuan.

Nonferrous metals contributed to the gains. Jiangxi Copper Co surged 6.26 percent to 24.44 yuan. Yunnan Chihong Zinc & Germanium Co jumped 2.25 percent to 20.41 yuan. Aluminum Corp of China increased 1.26 percent to 10.47 yuan.

Coal producers were strong. Pingdingshan Tianan Coal Mining Co soared 4.56 percent to 23.86 yuan. Datong Coal Industry Co jumped by the 10 percent daily cap to 26.85 yuan. Huaneng Power International Inc added 3.42 percent to 8.16 yuan.

Bucking the upward trend, China Cosco Holdings Co, the world's largest operator of dry-bulk ships, tumbled 1.23 percent to 12.88 yuan after 2008 profit fell 43 percent to 10.8 billion yuan, based on domestic accounting standards. It said it is in talks to delay or cancel orders for new vessels as the global recession hammers demand for shipments of coal, grains and iron ore.

China Shipping Container Lines Co, the country's second-largest carrier of sea-cargo boxes, slid 1.64 percent to 4.21 yuan after forecasting a first-quarter loss. The company expects to report a first-quarter loss as world trade and freight rates collapse.

China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corp, the nation's biggest maker of trains, declined 2.14 percent to 4.57 yuan after 2008 profit fell 48 percent as sales of freight wagons slumped.

TCL Corp, China's biggest publicly traded consumer-electronics maker, slumped 5.61 percent to 3.7 yuan. TCL said its first-quarter net income may fall about 96 percent from a year ago to between 14 million yuan and 16 million yuan.


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