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Banks drag Shanghai index down at midday
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16:44, February 20, 2008

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A Steep fall among lenders dragged Shanghai's key stock index lower this morning. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Co led the drop on speculation that the bank may raise as much as 46 billion yuan (6.4 billion U.S. dollars) from an additional share sale.

The Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks yuan-denominated A shares and hard-currency B shares, lost 1.13 percent, or 52.75 points, to 4,611.54.

Losers in the Shanghai market outnumbered gainers 547 to 279 while 26 were unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which covers the mainland's smaller stock market, dipped 0.17 percent, or 2.49 points, to 1,433.09.

Pudong Bank, part-owned by Citigroup Inc, dived 9.98 percent, or 5.10 yuan, to 45.99 yuan while China Merchants Bank, lost 4.64 percent, or 1.62 yuan, to finish the session at 33.30 yuan.

The market has speculated that Pudong Bank will sell one billion new additional shares, which was not welcomed by investors due to weak sentiment.

The index was also on the skids after the biggest component in the Shanghai market fell despite global crude oil prices hitting a record closing price yesterday.

PetroChina Co, the nation's biggest oil company, declined 1.41 percent, or 0.35 yuan, to 24.39 yuan.

Crude oil soared 4.7 percent to settle at 100.01 U.S. dollars a barrel in New York yesterday. It was a record closing price and the first time Nymex futures have closed above 100 dollars a barrel. Futures reached 100.10 dollars, the highest intraday price since trading began in 1983.

China United Telecommunications Corp, which controls the nation's second-biggest handset operator, lost 3.25 percent, or 0.42 yuan, to 12.52 yuan. The company said it added 1.43 million wireless users in January, compared with 1.36 million the previous month.

On the positive side, Jiangxi Copper, China's second-biggest producer of the metal, surged the 10 percent daily cap, or 4.43 yuan, to 48.69 yuan. Yunnan Copper Industry Co, the third-largest producer of the metal, advanced 6.36 percent, or 3.17 yuan, to 53 yuan.

Jiangxi Copper surged after saying most mines and smelting work was back to normal after snowstorms disrupted operations.

The smelter was running at about 85 percent of capacity and output from mines and other processing activities was back to the level before the storms hit, according to a statement late yesterday to stock exchanges in Hong Kong and London. The same statement was released to the Shanghai exchange today.

Source: Shanghai Daily

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