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Shipping companies dampen morning market

SHANGHAI'S key stock index fell in the morning session, with shipping companies dropping after transport rates slumped.

The Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.43 percent, or 9.19 points, to 2,119.66 points.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, was down 0.43 percent, or 2.96 points, to 689.71 points.

China Cosco Holdings Co sank 2.41 percent after three consecutive declines of the Baltic Dry Index, a measure of shipping costs for commodities.

Stocks also fell last week when Premier Wen Jiabao failed to announce any specific new spending during the annual meeting of the National People's Congress.

China Shenhua Energy Co, the nation's largest coal producer, lost 1.01 percent after sales dropped. The nation's largest coal producer posted a 21 percent drop in sales last month as demand for the fuel fell. The company said it sold 15 million metric tons of coal in February, compared with 18.9 million tons a year earlier.

PetroChina Co and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp reportedly raised fuel prices in Shanghai on March 13. PetroChina added 0.09 percent to 10.62 yuan while China Petroleum lost 0.12 percent to 8.13 yuan.

Huaxin Cement Co, the Chinese affiliate of Holcim Ltd, said it plans to raise as much as 4 billion yuan by issuing new shares in a private placement to finance an expansion in production. The shares eased 1.01 percent to 1.76 yuan.

Meanwhile, Wen reaffirmed the nation's 8 percent growth target for 2009 as he closed the Congress on March 13, saying China has "adequate ammunition" to add extra stimulus if necessary.

Beiqi Foton Motor Co, China's biggest commercial-vehicle maker said sales in January and February rose 10.6 percent from last year to 64,560. The shares inched up 0.12 percent to 8.49 yuan.


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