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Shares sink 4% amid talk of refinancing wave
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Chinese share prices tumbled more than 4 percent on Monday, adding to previous days' losses, as investors feared that large refinancing exercises could hurt liquidity.

Handset operator China Unicom slumped on rumors, which the company denied, that it would raise about 60 billion yuan (8.4 billion U.S. dollars) in new A shares.

The stock fell by the daily 10-percent limit to 10.92 yuan.

Subscriptions for the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) initial public offering (IPO) began on Monday. The company plans to issue up to 2.45 billion A shares, which would further tighten liquidity and dampen investor sentiment.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended at 4,192.53, down 177.75 points, or 4.07 percent. The Shenzhen Component Index lost 692.85 points, or 4.28 percent, to close at 15,486.67. Combined turnover shrank to 138.16 billion yuan from 165.03 billion yuan.

Some 70 billion yuan is expected to be poured into the market this week as the China Merchants Bank's A-shares will also come out of lock-up and be available for trading on the Shanghai exchange from Feb. 27, according to a report from China International Capital Corporation Limited.

But refinancing dominated investors' attention, with at least 23 listed companies possibly seeking to raise more than 200 billion yuan. Shanghai-listed Ping An Insurance, which plans to raise up to 160 billion yuan from a sale of bonds and new shares, fell 5.8 percent to 65.38 yuan. Daqin Railway, which also plans to issue new shares, fell 3.04 percent to 19.75 yuan.

"Rational refinancing is necessary, but a slew of massive fund-raising plans have had a negative impact," said chief strategic analyst of Citic Securities, Cheng Weiqing. Two investor funds worth more than 20 billion yuan, which were approved last week, would not reverse the downward trend as many institutions believed, said analysts.

(Xinhua News Agency February 26, 2008)

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