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Stocks down as blue chips reverse early gains
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Domestic stocks ended below the support level of 5,000 points again today as steel makers reversed morning gains amid declines among blue chips.


The Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks both yuan-denominated A shares and hard-currency B shares, was down 1.46 percent, or 73.28 points, to 4,958.85 at 3pm today.


The Shenzhen Composite Index, which covers the smaller mainland stock market, shed 1.03 percent, or 13.08 points, to 1,259.06.


Among stocks on the Shanghai Composite Index, 213 rose, 552 fell and 81 were unchanged.


The Shanghai Index slumped 4.41 percent to close at 4,984.16 last Thursday, its lowest close since August 22 before today.


Steel makers and coal producers, which pushed the Shanghai index up in the morning session, erased gains and fell in the afternoon despite news that the country's steel products will cost more next year.


Baoshan Iron & Steel Co, the nation's biggest steel maker, lost 1.90 percent, or 0.30 yuan (4 US cents), to 15.49 yuan.


Steel makers will raise prices in the first quarter of next year because of rising raw material costs, Luo Bingsheng, the vice chairman of the China Iron & Steel Association, said today.


Besides, Baoshan will double crude steel capacity after building a second plant at one unit. The new facility will use so-called Corex technology to help reduce the use of coking coal as raw-material costs trade at record highs, the company said in a press release on Saturday.


China Shenhua Energy Co, the country's biggest coal producer, dipped 0.11 percent, or 0.07 yuan, to 64.96 yuan. The company may consider a US$4 billion bid for a controlling stake in Indonesia's No. 2 producer of the fuel.


Coal prices at Australia's Newcastle port, a benchmark for supplies in Asia, rose to a record for a fifth consecutive week on concerns of supply shortages as mining companies are advised of capacity restrictions next year.


But gold makers remained strong as Zhongjin Gold, China's No. 1 listed gold miner by market value, surged 8.60 percent, or 7.53 yuan, to 95.04 yuan while Shandong Gold soared its daily cap of 10 percent, or 13.44 yuan, to close at 147.80 yuan.


Securities stocks sank today on concern lower trading volumes will erode income.


Citic Securities Co, the nation's largest brokerage, tumbled 3.74 percent, or 3.31 yuan, to 85.19 yuan while Northeast Securities slid 3.85 percent, or 1.87 yuan, to 46.68 yuan.


A total of 61.3 billion yuan of shares were traded on the Shanghai bourse today, far less than the more than 220 billion yuan of shares exchanged during mid October.


Banks and property developers dropped today due to sagging confidence among investors.


China Minsheng Banking Corp, the nation's only listed non-state bank, declined 1.94 percent, or 0.31 yuan, to 15.70 yuan while Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the nation's biggest listed lender, was down 1.39 percent, or 0.11 yuan, to close at 7.79 yuan.


Poly Real Estate Group Co, China's second-largest developer by market value, declined 2.10 percent, or 1.53 yuan, to 71.27 yuan. Gemdale Corp, a Chinese developer that's partnered with ING Groep NV, fell 2.55 percent, or 1.23 yuan, to 46.99 yuan.


China may raise interest rates as well as the amount of capital lenders have to set aside in reserves to curb the booming economy, Zhou Xiaochuan, Governor of the People's Bank of China, said last week.


Higher interest rates make loans such as mortgages more expensive, discouraging house purchases.


(Shanghai Daily November 26, 2007)

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