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Insurance stocks tumble after sell-off

By Yu Xi (Global Times)

08:28, July 24, 2012

The Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets ended with heavy losses Monday, with the Shanghai Composite Index dropping to its lowest point in six months.

The Shanghai Composite Index gave up 27.24 points, or 1.26 percent, to close at 2,141.40; while the Shenzhen Component Index slumped 1.58 percent, or 147.19 points, to end at 9,186.02.

Both markets opened lower Monday as last week's bearish downturn and contractions in the US and European markets cast a shadow over investor sentiment. The indices wavered down throughout morning trading as cement, coal and real estate stocks retreated. While agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, fishery and media stocks were able to pull off a rally in the afternoon, drops in the heavily weighted banking and property development sectors offset these gains near the closing bell and dragged the indices into negative territory.

Several major Chinese insurers recorded losses Monday due to news that Carlyle Group, a private equity fund based in the US, had sold a portion of its stake in China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co Ltd for about $738 million Saturday, according to caijing.com.

China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co declined 2.15 percent to 22.81 yuan ($3.59). China Life Insurance shaved off 1.81 percent to 19.52 yuan.

Guo Shuqing, head of China's securities regulator, said during meetings in Jilin and Liaoning provinces that listed companies and regulators should respect and protect investors' interests, a statement aimed at revitalizing fading investor confidence, say analysts.

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