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Stocks fall nearly 2% on weaker blue chips

SHANGHAI'S key stock index lost nearly 2 percent to close below 2,600 points yesterday, led by weaker heavyweight chips in the second session of trading.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.75 percent, or 45.90 points, to close at 2,579.75. Turnover was 172.3 billion yuan (US$25.2 billion).

Pharmaceutical shares were among the losers after several days of gains as investors took profit. Shanghai Industrial Pharmaceutical Investment Co dipped 0.05 percent to 19.39 yuan, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (Group) Co fell 2.81 percent to 12.45 yuan, and Shanghai Zi Jiang Enterprise Group Co tumbled 6.89 percent to 5 yuan.

Banks and brokerages showed mixed results. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the nation's biggest lender, lost 1.15 percent to 4.31 yuan while the Bank of China dipped 0.82 percent to 3.61 yuan, and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank edged up 0.32 percent to 24.90 yuan.

Haitong Securities rose 1.46 percent to 13.24 yuan but Sinolink Securities shed 2.86 percent to 37.35 yuan.

But news that China will stop approving new aluminum plants or expansion projects in three years to revitalize the nonferrous metals industry helped producers.

Xiamen Tungsten Co rose 5.26 percent to 14.82 yuan, and Aluminum Corporation of China Ltd, the nation's largest producer of the metal, gained 3.22 percent to 11.22 yuan.


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