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Stocks fall to monthly low on growth concerns

By XIE YU in Shanghai  (China Daily)

10:31, April 24, 2013

Shanghai stock market slumped to its worst close in a month on Tuesday, after the preliminary reading of HSBC's Purchasing Managers' Index showed the country's manufacturing growth fell in April.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index plunged 2.57 percent, the biggest drop in almost a month, to 2,184.54. Shares in Shenzhen dropped 2.92 percent, and in Hong Kong, they fell 1.08 percent.

Securities brokerage, construction material and real estate stocks led the index lower, in total trading worth 82.2 billion yuan ($13.3 billion), almost the same as Monday.

The HSBC PMI fell to a two-month low of 50.5 in April from 51.6 in March. A reading above 50 indicates expanding activity.

Although still pointing to expansion, it missed most forecasts.

"The PMI reading is clearly below expectation, which to some extent shows the economic recovery is not as strong as investors had hoped," said Gui Haoming, a senior analyst with Shenyin & Wanguo Securities Co Ltd.

"The market appears cautious, and a correction in the A-share market is likely to continue."

The HSBC report was the first business indicator for China's second quarter, after weaker-than-expected growth in GDP for the first quarter was revealed earlier this month.

But not everyone was pessimistic about the short-term market performance.

Li Daxiao, from domestic securities brokerage Yingda, told China Daily that he expected the market to stabilize around the May Day holiday.

He added that in the second quarter, an increase in credit supply in March — which exceeded 1 trillion yuan — coupled with an awakening in overseas demand would provide greater impetus to the domestic economy.

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