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Mainland markets close week at odds, defense sectors take a nosedive

By Yu Xi (Global Times)

08:20, September 24, 2012

Chinese stock markets closed on opposite sides of the break-even mark Friday as renewed diplomatic efforts to ease the Diaoyu Islands dispute erased recent advances made by military, aerospace and marine stocks.

The Shanghai Composite Index finished trading at 2,026.69 points Friday, up 1.85 points, or 0.09 percent; while the Shenzhen Component Index closed at 8,201.53 points after declining 0.68 points, or 0.01 percent, on the day.

Both markets opened last Monday with heavy losses after stocks exposed to the domestic real estate industry were hit by deepening concerns that the central government would soon implement a fresh batch of policies to keep home prices in check.

Dismal sentiment combined with drops in finance, non-ferrous metal, coal and military stocks led the markets into negative territory again Tuesday. The two-day losing streak was broken Wednesday by news that the Ministry of Science and Technology had pushed forward three major IT infrastructure projects.

The release of HSBC's disappointing preliminary China manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI), a major gauge of factory activity, for September reeled mainland markets back into losses Thursday. The headline reading of the PMI printed at 47.8, up slightly from the pervious month, but still below the 50 mark, indicating that the manufacturing sector was still contracting, reignited worries about the sagging domestic economy.

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