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Shanghai market inches up at midday
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Shanghai's key stock index rose slightly by the noon break today but coal producers continued to fall on concern the worst snowstorms in decades will disrupt deliveries.

The Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks yuan-denominated A shares and hard-currency B shares, gained 0.55 percent, or 24.26 points, to 4,442.11.

Losers in the Shanghai market outnumbered gainers 588 to 215 while 31 were unchanged.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which covers the smaller mainland stock market, lost 0.97 percent, or 13.11 points, to 1,334.70.

Steel makers drifted higher in the morning.

Baoshan Iron & Steel Co, China's biggest steel maker, was up 3.51 percent, or 0.53 yuan (7 US cents), to 15.15 yuan while Wuhan Iron & Steel Co, the nation's fifth-biggest steel maker, climbed 4.06 percent, or 0.74 yuan, to 18.98 yuan.

Baotou Steel Co grew 0.97 percent, 0.07 yuan, to 7.31 yuan. The firm said yesterday that its 2007 profit probably rose more than 150 percent after the company sold shares to buy assets from the parent.

Shares of Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co also rose in the early session today after it released its 2007 net income report.

Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co, China's largest maker of ethylene, said 2007 net income rose more than 50 percent from a year earlier because of investment gains and lower costs. Profit in 2006 was 844 million yuan under international accounting standards. The stock added 1.37 percent, or 0.18 yuan, to 13.36 yuan.

Gemdale Corp, China's fifth-largest developer by market value, performed strong this morning after it announced plans to form an overseas real estate investment venture with UBS AG that will raise as much as US$300 million.

The developer jumped 5.95 percent, or 2.47 yuan, to 44 yuan.

But Beijing-based developer Poly Real Estate Group Co was down 0.61 percent, or 0.42 yuan, 68.62 yuan.

Poly, the nation's third-largest realtor, said today that its profit last year more than doubled to 1.49 billion yuan as sales surged.

Coal producers continued to fall this morning.

China Shenhua, the nation's largest coal producer, dropped 2.91 percent, or 1.71 yuan, to 57.10 yuan. Pingdingshan Tianan Coal Mining Co, a coal producer in Henan Province, shed 5.86 percent, or 2.96 yuan, to finish the session at 47.58 yuan. Yanzhou Coal Mine Co sank 7.10 percent, or 1.54 yuan, to 20.16 yuan.

China is experiencing the worst blizzards in 50 years, bringing railway service to a standstill and forcing the government to mobilize the largest deployment of troops in a decade to clear ice off roads and power cables.

Roads, railways and power supplies across much of central, southern and eastern China were paralyzed as of late yesterday. More than 750,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed.

(Shanghai Daily January 31, 2008)

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