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Shanghai index drops at lunch break
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Domestic stocks closed a bit lower at the noon break as gains among banks and developers were offset by losses among airlines.


The Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks yuan-denominated A shares and hard-currency B shares, dipped 0.32 percent, or 15.55 points, to 4,861.21 at 11:30am today. The index dropped 2.62 percent yesterday, its third loss in four trading days.


Losers in the Shanghai market outnumbered gainers 480 to 280 while 86 were unchanged.


The Shenzhen Composite Index, which covers the smaller mainland stock market, lost 0.44 percent, or 5.82 points, to 1,313.38.


Investors pushed up share prices of both banks and property stocks.


Vanke, the nation's biggest listed property developer, inched up 0.70 percent, or 0.19 yuan (3 US cents), to 27.29 yuan. The developer plunged 7.68 percent yesterday.


Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd, the nation's biggest listed lender, increased 0.91 percent, or 0.07 yuan, to 7.74 yuan. China Construction Bank Corp, the country's second-largest bank, added 0.53 percent, or 0.05 yuan, to end the session at 9.48 yuan.


China will let its commercial banks invest in United Kingdom stocks and funds, the second market opened to them after Hong Kong. The nation reached an agreement with the UK financial regulator for investments by the banks, the China Banking Regulatory Commission said yesterday.


Separately, China's central bank may ask lenders to deposit money with it for the second time this year, the Shanghai Securities News reported today.


But China Eastern, a Shanghai carrier, was among the sliding airlines this morning after it said it planned to buy more planes.


China Eastern Airlines Corp, the nation's third-largest carrier by fleet size, dropped 4.53 percent, or 0.84 yuan, to finish the morning session at 17.69 yuan. The carrier said it is in talks to buy 40 Boeing Co 737 planes and has applied to the government for 40 Airbus SAS A320s.


Industrial stocks were mixed this morning as coal miners surged while heavyweights in the oil sector declined.


Datong Coal Industry Co, the second-largest, advanced 4.44 percent, or 1.20 yuan, to finish the session at 28.20 yuan. Xishan Coal, China's best-performing coal stock this year, rose 1.78 percent, or 1.02 yuan, to 58.20 yuan. The stock has jumped 539 percent this year as of yesterday.


China's power producers may pay 10 percent more for coal purchases under contracts next year because of higher mining costs, Shanghai Securities News reported today, citing information from the China Coal Transport & Distribution Association. The price of coal used for power generation may rise between 30 yuan and 40 yuan a metric ton in 2008, it said.


But PetroChina Co, the nation's biggest oil company, shed 0.83 percent, or 0.25 yuan, to 29.74 yuan. The company said it will start expanding annual capacity at an ethylene plant in Daqing city at the end of this month to meet rising demand.


(Shanghai Daily December 18, 2007)

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