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Declines in Q1 corporate earnings pull Chinese equities down 1.77%
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16:18, April 27, 2009

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Chinese equities dropped by 1.77 percent Monday as declines in first-quarter corporate earnings hurt market confidence.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed the day at 2,405.35 points, down 43.25 points. The Shenzhen Component Index fell 2.5 percent to 9,082.22 points, down 232.99 points.

China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co. lost 7 percent to close at 16.73 yuan, after the firm said late Sunday that its first-quarter profits slumped 89 percent from a year ago on shrinking returns from its investment portfolio.

China CSSC Holdings Limited, the country's leading shipbuilding firm, slid 6.96 percent to 60.69 yuan at closing, as its first-quarter report revealed over the weekend said the company saw its profits fall 36 percent.

Profits of China's listed firms in the first quarter declined about 17 percent from a year ago, based on first-quarter reports of 675 listed firms, or nearly half of the total, which have been released as of Friday, according to the Stockstar, an online financial information provider.

Losses overwhelmingly outnumbered gains by 754 to 101 in Shanghai and 641 to 92 in Shenzhen.

Combined turnover shrank to 155.41 billion yuan (22.85 billion U.S. dollars) from 168.3 billion yuan on the previous trading day.

Monday's market responded to the outbreak of swine flu, which has already killed 103 people in Mexico, with mixed reactions.

Shares in the agricultural sector fell the most Monday after the news sent futures of farm products down globally. Hunan New Wellful Co. slid by the daily limit of 10 percent to 7.21 yuan, and Sichuan New Hope Agribusiness Co. lost 7.74 percent to 8.7 yuan.

The outbreak of swine flu also hit airlines and tourism, as the news would dampen demand for outbound traveling during the coming May Day holidays.

Hainan Airlines slumped 9.95 percent to 5.34 yuan. Air China and China Southern both dropped by more than 6 percent. China United Travel slid 9.7 percent to 4.75 yuan.

Shares of pharmaceutical producers, however, rose on the news of swine flu outbreak, although no case has been reported in China. Inner Mongolia Jinyu Group advanced by the daily limit of 10 percent to 10.21 yuan, and Shanghai Pharmaceutical Co. rose 6.56 percent to 10.4 yuan.

Rises in three heavyweights also helped the Shanghai index to stand above 2,400 points after hitting a low of 2,393.16 during the trading.

China Unicom, one of the country's three major telecom operators, added 7 percent to 6.73 yuan, a day before the firm is scheduled to unveil the logo for its third-generation network services, which is believed to have a good prospect compared to its domestic competitors using Europe's WCDMA technologies.

The country's two oil producers also rose Monday as the global crude prices jumped above 50 U.S. dollars per barrel. PetroChina rose 1.21 percent to 11.72, and Sinopec edged up 0.62 percent to 9.67 yuan.

Source: Xinhua

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