China’s benchmark stock index falls on IPOs, data

CSI 300 Index dropped 0.4 percent to 2,169.98

China’s stocks fell, dragging the benchmark index below 2,000 for the first time in almost six months, as factory output and business spending missed estimates and concern grew new share offerings will divert funds.

China Shenhua Energy Co., the nation’s largest coal producer, headed for a record low as Beijing and Shanghai stepped up measures to curb pollution. Neway Valve (Suzhou) Co. plunged 10 percent after surging 43 percent last week in its debut. Phone-equipment maker ZTE Corp. slumped 2.6 percent as telecom companies dropped the most among industry groups.

The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.4 percent to 1,996.47 at the 11:30 a.m. break. Industrial output and fixed- asset investment trailed analyst projections, while gross domestic product rose 7.7 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with 7.8 percent in the third quarter. Eight companies will start trading in Shenzhen tomorrow, with three companies on the small and medium enterprise board and five on the ChiNext.

“We have more or less expected that GDP would fall into that range,” said Zeng Xianzhao, an analyst at Everbright Securities Co. “For the time being, I don’t see any signs the index will gain strongly amid the new IPOs.”

The CSI 300 Index dropped 0.4 percent to 2,169.98. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index fell 0.8 percent. The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index lost 0.5 percent in New York on Jan. 17.

The Shanghai Composite posted a 0.4 percent decline last week, extending this year’s loss to 5.7 percent, amid concern slowing economic growth will curb profits and higher money- market rates will stifle lending.

Coal Stocks

China’s economy grew 1.8 percent from the previous quarter, compared with a 2 percent median estimate of economists and 2.2 percent in the July-September period. GDP expanded 7.7 percent in 2013, the statistics bureau said, the same pace as in 2012. The economy is forecast to expand 7.4 percent this year, according to an analyst survey last month, the slowest pace since 1990.

Industrial production rose 9.7 percent in December from a year earlier. That compared with the 9.8 percent median forecast of analysts and a 10 percent gain in November. Fixed-asset investment excluding rural households increased 19.6 percent in the January-to-December period from a year earlier. That compared with the 19.8 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg survey and a 20.6 percent pace in 2012.

“Growth momentum is clearly weakening,” said Dariusz Kowalczyk, senior economist and strategist at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong. “The slowdown became increasingly clear as the quarter progressed.”

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