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A-shares crumble as govt recommits to housing curbs

By Louise Ho in Shanghai (Global Times)

08:28, February 22, 2013

An investor supports his head with a hand as he looks at an electronic board at a trading hall in a securities firm in Shanghai, east China, Feb. 21, 2013. Chinese stocks plunged on Feb. 21, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slumped 2.97 percent, or 71.23 points, to end at 2,325.95. The Shenzhen Component Index declined 2.59 percent, or 249.76 points, to 9,396.11. (Xinhua/Ding Ding)

Stock markets on the Chinese mainland took a thrashing Thursday after the central government vowed to maintain curbs on the housing market and the US Federal Reserve hinted at possible adjustments to its monetary policy which could drain liquidity from the global market.

The key Shanghai Composite Index shed 71.23 points, or 2.97 percent, to finish at 2,325.95, marking the biggest single-day drop in 15 months; while the Shenzhen Component Index tumbled 249.76 points, or 2.59 percent, to close at 9,396.11.

Both indices took the bulk of their losses Thursday when the markets opened and slowly drifted downward throughout the trading day as most heavily weighted sectors contracted.

Financial shares were rocked particularly hard. China Merchants Securities Co shed 6.60 percent to 12.31 yuan ($1.97). Ping An Insurance (Group) Co of China dropped 4.18 percent to 46.74 yuan. Industrial Bank Co lost 5.70 percent to 18.03 yuan.

Property developers were also lowered after the State Council reiterated its determination to keep curbs on real estate in place as the country's property market shows signs of reheating. Poly Real Estate Group Co shed 0.73 percent to 12.30 yuan, while Beijing Vantone Real Estate Co declined 2.32 percent to 3.79 yuan.

The coal and non-ferrous metals sectors fared particularly poorly as resource stocks were seen weakening across the board. Gansu Jingyuan Coal Industry and Electricity Power Co fell 8.18 percent to 23.11 yuan.

Liquor producers formed one of the markets' few bright spots Thursday, with Qinghai Huzhu Barley Wine Co surging 7.17 percent to 23.01 yuan.

Despite Thursday's plunge, analysts believe signs of recovery in the broader economy, ample liquidity and optimism about earnings could support A-shares in the days ahead.

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