China stocks slide 5.3 pct to new 20-month low

SHANGHAI - China's main stock index tumbled more than 5 percent on Monday to a new 20-month closing low, hit by fears that slowing economic growth will stifle the expansion of corporate profits.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Mon 18 Aug 2008, 6:57 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:54 AM

The Shanghai Composite Index ended down 5.34 percent at 2,319.868 points, only marginally off its intra-day low of 2,318.926. It is down 14.95 percent over the past seven trading days, and down 62 percent from last October's record peak.

Falling stocks in Shanghai outnumbered gainers by 904 to 31, with over 200 Shanghai A shares plunging their 10 percent daily limits.

"There is no confidence at all, and no money entering the market to clean up this mess, so no one can call a floor now," said Zhang Qi, analyst at Haitong Securities.

Turnover in Shanghai A shares was small at 35.7 billion yuan ($5.2 billion), with over 6 billion yuan of that amount contributed by newly listing China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corp, against Friday's 27.1 billion yuan.

Coal shares sagged after China late on Friday said it was raising export taxes on coke, coking coal and thermal coal to address a coal shortage. Shenhua Energy, China's biggest coal producer, sank 5.20 percent to 26.79 yuan.

Aluminium Corp of China, the country's largest aluminium producer, tumbled 8.80 percent to 9.53 yuan, after China also raised the export tax on aluminium alloy.

South Locomotive, China's biggest train maker, jumped 58 percent from its initial public offer price to end its first day of trade at 3.45 yuan, in line with market expectations.

But analysts said this was not a positive signal for the overall stock market; instead, it merely reflected the cheap pricing of the IPO and the fact that investors saw newly listed shares as relatively safe short-term bets given the market's slump. South Locomotive's debut sucked liquidity from the rest of the market.

"Money poured into South Locomotive as its price looked relatively attractive in such a weak market -- but much of the buying looks speculative and risky," said Qian Xiangjing, analyst at CITIC-Kington Securities.

Underlying the market's panic is concern that corporate profit growth could halt entirely next year, after estimated growth of 20 percent in the first half of this year, because of a slowing economy.

Lehman Brothers predicted in a research note that China's real gross domestic product growth would fall to 8.0 percent in 2009 from 9.5 percent in 2008 and 11.9 percent in 2007.

China's securities regulator said on Saturday that it was concerned abfirst nine months of this year would drop by at least 50 percent.

Danhua Chemical Technology plunged its 10 percent limit to 17.69 yuan after saying one of its big shareholders had cut its stake sharply.

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