Quake impact pushes down Chinese shares

Beijing, April 22 (IANS) Chinese shares saw slight losses Monday, as Saturday’s quake in southwest China’s Sichuan province weighed on the markets.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index moved down 0.11 percent, or 2.47 points, to end at 2,242.17, and the Shenzhen Component Index shed 0.59 percent, or 53.57 points, to 9,057.62, reported Xinhua.

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake jolted Lushan county of Sichuan’s Ya’an city Saturday.

Shares of insurance companies generally fell Monday, as investors feared payouts on quake-related losses would hurt their profits.

China Life shed 2.55 percent to 17.22 yuan, while Ping An Insurance Company of China moved down 2.21 percent to end the day at 41.95 yuan per share.

Quake-relief and reconstruction-related sectors saw robust gains. Chongqing Iron and Steel Group and Sichuan Shuangma Cement Co. both surged by the daily limit of 10 percent to 3.03 yuan and 7.54 yuan, respectively.

The mild losses seen Monday suggest limited short-term quake impact on the stock markets, analysts said.

Zhang Liqun, an analyst from the State Council’s Development Research Center, said the quake would create losses for certain local economies, but a significant impact on the national economy would be unlikely.

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