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Blue chips drive Chinese shares up to new high despite more losers
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20:54, August 08, 2007

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Chinese share prices closed 0.26 percent up on Wednesday, led by gains in bank blue chips ahead of expected strong corporate profits in the first half.

The key Shanghai Composite Index, which covers A and B shares listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, rose 11.93 points or 0.26 percent from Tuesday's close to end at 4,663.16 points.

The index opened lower at 4,614.59 points due to profit-taking and later touched an all-time high of 4,711.32 points despite greater volatility during the day.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), predicted to have a 50-percent rise in first-half profits, soared 9.83 percent on Wednesday, contributing 47 points to the benchmark index.

China Merchants Bank, with profits likely to more than double, rose 3.35 percent.

Other bank blue chips also recorded a big rise, with the Bank of China surging 7.54 percent and China CITIC Bank rising 2.35 percent, helping make up for falls in the real estate and metal sectors.

Blue chips served as "a stabilizer" for the recent rise and maintained their position as leaders in the booming market, said analysts.

However, there were only 383 gainers on the two bourses in Shanghai and Shenzhen, compared with 566 on the previous day, while the number of losers climbed to 946 from 864.

The steel sector was no longer the backbone of the rise. Guangzhou Iron and Steel Co., which rose by the maximum ten percent on the previous day, dropped 5.18 percent, and Bao Steel Group declined 3.24 percent.

On Wednesday, the component index of the smaller Shenzhen Stock Exchange dropped 329.55 points, or 1.99 percent to 16,193.72 points.

Combined turnover of the two bourses shrank to 241.99 billion yuan (31.84 billion U.S. dollars) from 276.6 billion yuan on the previous day.

The Hushen 300 index, which tracks 300 companies on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges, closed at 4,668.09 points on Wednesday, down 56.46 points or 1.20 percent from the previous close.

Source: Xinhua

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