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Shares decline as recovery outlook dim

HEAVY-WEIGHTED shares and the financial sector pulled Shanghai's key stock index to end lower yesterday as investors saw no obvious sign of an economic recovery.

The Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.24 percent, or 5.14 points, to close at 2,133.88. Turnover shrank to 70.8 billion yuan (US$10.4 billion) from 88.1 billion yuan on Wednesday. Losers outnumbered gainers 446 to 409 and 53 remained unchanged.

"The index will continue to fluctuate as heavyweights are still weak while the shrinking turnover isn't likely to support another rebound and we suggest the market would not become active in the near future," according to Shenyin Wanguo Securities.

Oil producers were among the losers as crude oil for April delivery fell US$3.38, or 7.4 percent, to US$42.33 a barrel in New York yesterday. PetroChina, the biggest component in the index, lost 0.65 percent to 10.62 yuan while China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, Asia's largest refiner, dipped 0.49 percent to 8.17 yuan.

China Construction Bank shed 0.49 percent to 4.07 yuan while the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the nation's biggest lender, was off 0.54 percent to 3.68 yuan. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank buckled 1.67 percent to 18.28 yuan.

China COSCO Holdings Co, the world's largest operator of dry-bulk ships, declined 1.90 percent to 10.32 yuan. China Shipping Development Co, a unit of China's biggest shipping group, dived 2.79 percent to 10.12 yuan and China CSSC Holdings Ltd dropped 2.57 percent to 48.55 yuan.

Steel makers reversed their gains of the previous trading day. Baoshan Iron and Steel Co, China's biggest steel maker, shed 0.92 percent to 5.39 yuan while Chongqing Iron & Steel Co Ltd tumbled 2.14 percent to 4.58 yuan.


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