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Record car sales drive market up

SHANGHAI'S key stock index gained in the morning session, led by carmakers after domestic automobile sales rose a record amount.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.14 percent, or 3.4 points, to close at 2,350.78 points. Turnover stood at 52.77 billion yuan (US$7.76 billion). Losers outnumbered gainers 433 to 382 while 51 remained unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was down 0.12 percent to close at 779.49 points.

SAIC Motor Co, China's largest carmaker, added 0.85 percent to 9.46 yuan. FAW Car Co, a Chinese partner of Mazda Motor Corp, gained 0.67 percent to 11.94 yuan. Chongqing Changan Automobile Co fell 0.83 percent to 7.2 yuan.

China's automobile sales rose to a record 1.08 million vehicles in March as government policies stimulated demand, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. The country's total sales may rise to 10.2 million vehicles this year, up 8.7 percent from a year earlier, the association said.

Tsingtao Brewery, the country's biggest beer company by sales, gained 3.72 percent to 21.72 yuan. The company said 2008 profit rose 30 percent from a year earlier to 699.6 million yuan on higher sales in the world's largest market for the beverage.

Elsewhere, China Vanke Co, the nation's biggest listed property developer said sales in March fell 8 percent from the same month last year to 6.14 billion yuan. The stock dipped 0.37 percent to 8.16 yuan.

Gemdale Corp said it plans to raise 4.1 billion yuan through the private placement of up to 400 million shares. The stock slid 0.29 percent to 10.37 yuan.

GD Power Development Co, the largest electricity producer in northeastern China, said its electricity generation in the first three months of 2009 fell 10 percent from a year earlier. The shares eased 0.16 percent to 6.09 yuan.

Huadian Power International Corp, the listed unit of China's fourth-largest power producer, said it plans to raise up to 3.5 billion yuan selling its Shanghai-listed shares to fund capital spending. Separately, the company posted a full-year loss of 2.56 billion yuan. The shares added 0.13 percent to 7.73 yuan.

Ping An Insurance (Group) Co, China's second-biggest insurer, said annual profit fell for the first time since it was listed in 2004 on losses from an investment in Fortis and a slump in China's stock market. Net income plunged to 268 million yuan from 18.7 billion yuan, it said. The shares advanced 3.81 percent to 40.3 yuan.

Youngor Group Co, China's No. 1 maker of men's clothing by sales, said its first-quarter net income may have risen more than 50 percent from a year earlier. The shares climbed 1.98 percent to 9.77 yuan.


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