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Uncertainty clouds market outlook

SHANGHAI'S key stock index ended lower today as the market remained uncertain about future government measures.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.24 percent, or 5.03 points, to close at 2,128.85 points. Turnover was 71.0 billion yuan (US$10.38 billion). Losers outnumbered gainers 612 to 252 and 44 remained unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller domestic market, lost 0.62 percent to close at 692.67 points.

"The market will not likely suffer major losses in the near future and we suggest the index may climb led by blue chips and heavyweights," said a research note by GF Securities.

Banks and the finance sector showed mixed results. Bank of Communications advanced 2.97 percent to 5.54 yuan. Bank of China was up 1.20 percent to 3.38 yuan. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank was down 0.49 percent to 18.19 yuan. China Merchants Bank Co dipped 0.70 percent to 14.23 yuan.

China Life Insurance Co Ltd, the country's largest life insurance company, added 1.16 percent to 10.94 yuan. China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co Ltd advanced 2.20 percent to 14.41 yuan.

Coal producers were among the gainers. China Coal Energy Co, the nation's second-largest coal producer, said it increased output by 0.4 percent in the first two months. Its shares dipped 0.39 percent to 7.79 yuan. China Shenhua Energy Co, the nation's largest coal producer, edged up 0.05 percent to 18.83 yuan. Datong Coal Industry Co Ltd gained 1.03 percent to 14.69 yuan.

Guangdong Electric Power Development Co Ltd said it will pay a total of 189 million yuan for a 10 percent stake in Guangdong Yudean Jinghai Power Generation Co. The stock edged up 0.32 percent to 6.35 yuan.

Crude oil prices surged 11 percent in New York to above US$47 per barrel after reports that OPEC is expected to cut production. PetroChina, the biggest component index, dipped 0.09 percent to 10.61 yuan. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, Asia's largest refiner, was down 0.37 percent to 8.14 yuan.

Real estate developers were weaker. China Vanke Co, the nation's largest listed property developer, lost 1.53 percent to 7.71 yuan. China Merchants Property Development Co Ltd tumbled 3.34 percent to 18.80 yuan. Gemdale Corporation retreated 4.11 percent to 8.64 yuan. Poly Real Estate Group was down 1.03 percent to 20.10 yuan.


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