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Steel mills push up key stock index

SHANGHAI'S key stock index rose for a fifth day yesterday, led by steel mills on hopes that state spending will lift demand for their products.

Toll road operator Sichuan Expressway Co, which tripled on its trading debut on Monday, sank by the 10 percent daily cap yesterday.

The Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.09 percent, or 3.16 points, to close at 3,438.37, after touching a low of 3,392.43. Turnover rose to 243.6 billion yuan (US$35.82 billion) from 240.6 billion yuan on Monday.

The market was boosted yesterday by the strong performance of steel makers near the close of trading which helped push the barometer up slightly, said Chen Wei, an analyst at United Securities Co.

Shares of steel producers rose as prices of the metal climbed. Anyang Iron and Steel Inc and Inner Mongolia Bao Tou Steel Union Co both surged by the 10 percent daily cap to 7.03 yuan and 4.91 yuan respectively. Baoshan Iron & Steel Co, the nation's biggest steel maker, soared 8.67 percent to 9.40 yuan, Wuhan Iron and Steel Co added 5.85 percent to 11.22 yuan, and Handan Iron and Steel Co rose 5.75 percent to 7.54 yuan.

Benchmark Chinese steel prices hit the highest since February 5 yesterday, data from Beijing Antaike Information Development Co showed, according to Bloomberg News. Steel prices have gained 25 percent since April 1.

Among losers, Sichuan Expressway fell to 9.81 yuan after more than tripling its debut price on Monday.

China Shenhua Energy Co, Asia's largest coal producer, shed 1.91 percent to 39.52 yuan, and Yanzhou Coal Mining Co slid 3.84 percent to 21.27 yuan.

China State Construction Engineering Corp will start trading today after it raised 50 billion yuan in the world's biggest initial public offering in 16 months.


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