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Blue chips drag index lower at midday
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Shanghai stocks dropped in today's morning session with index heavyweights performing softly after yesterday's large gains, showing investors are still cautious about the market's near-term trend and confidence has yet to recover fully.

The Shanghai Composite Index, which soared 8.13 percent yesterday, its biggest daily increase since June 2005, lost 1.92 percent to close the morning session at 4,582.69. Losers outnumbered gainers 565 to 304 while 20 were unchanged.

Industry analysts said yesterday's rally was largely bolstered by the regulatory approval of new mutual funds and news over the delay of large-sized stock sales in an apparent signal that the government doesn't want to see a swift drop in stock markets.

However, traders noted that the market is still jittery over possible cooling measures by financial authorities if the market rises too quickly. Analysts also said some investors preferred to pull out of the market before the weeklong Spring Festival holiday, which begins tomorrow.

PetroChina Co, the biggest index component, slumped 5.65 percent to 24.90 yuan, after soaring 8.07 percent yesterday. One billion PetroChina shares related to its Shanghai IPO last year became freely tradable today as a lock-up period expired.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China eased 2.49 percent to 7.05 yuan. The nation's biggest listed lender set aside 30 percent of its US$1.2 billion of United States subprime securities as reserves against potential losses, Xinhua news agency reported, citing Chairman Jiang Jianqing.

Bucking the overall downside, Aluminum Corp of China increased 5.38 percent to close at 34.08 yuan. The company has become the controlling shareholder of parent Yunnan Copper Group Co, said listed unit Yunnan Copper Industry in a statement today.

GD Power Development Co jumped by the daily trading limit 10 percent to finish the morning at 17.36 yuan. The Shanghai-listed unit of one of China's five largest electricity producers said profit surged 44 percent to 1.71 billion yuan last year as output increased after it acquired power plants from its parent.

(Shanghai Daily February 5, 2008)

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