China's key stock index fell for a fourth day, rounding off its longest losing streak in five months. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. led oil refiners lower on concern rising crude oil prices will increase costs.
``The cost concern is now looming again to threaten oil refiners and hurt their share prices,'' said Wu Kan, an analyst with Shanghai Securities Consulting Co. in Shanghai.
China Vanke Co., the nation's biggest property developer, and Henan Yuguang Gold & Lead Co. advanced after posting profit growth for the first half.
The Shanghai Composite Index, which covers yuan-denominated A shares and foreign-currency B shares, lost 12.12, or 0.8 percent, to 1600.61 at the 3 p.m. local-time close, the lowest since June 22. The measure completed a four-day, 5.1 percent decline, matching a slide of four days that ended March 9.
The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks the smaller market, dropped 3.93, or 1 percent, to 402.16, a level not seen since June 15. The gauge declined 7.4 percent in the past five days, the longest losing stretch since seven days ended on July 6, 2005.
China Petroleum, Asia's biggest oil refiner, also known as Sinopec, dropped 0.04 yuan, or 0.7 percent, to 5.74.
Crude oil for September delivery rose as much as 0.5 percent to $74.79 a barrel in after-hours trading in New York after Israel quashed hopes for an early cease-fire in Lebanon. The futures contract climbed 1.6 percent to $74.40 yesterday.
Shijiazhuang Refining-Chemical Co., a unit of Sinopec, declined 0.08 yuan, or 1.8 percent, to 4.42. Sinopec Shandong Taishan Petroleum Co., another Sinopec unit, lost 0.11 yuan, or 2.1 percent, to 5.23.
Chinese oil refiners need government approval to raise prices of their products to pass on the rising cost of crude.
China Vanke rose 0.07 yuan, or 1.3 percent, to 5.61. The company said first-half profit rose 59 percent from a year earlier to 1.27 billion yuan ($159 million) as higher incomes and economic growth drove up demand for apartments and offices.
``Large property developers' profit will be encouraging for the rest of the year,'' said Wu with Shanghai Securities Consulting.
Home prices in the southern city of Shenzhen, where Vanke is based, jumped almost 30 percent in the first half from a year earlier, even as the government tightened bank lending and land supply to cool the market. China's economy grew 11.3 percent in the second quarter, the fastest pace since 1994, and disposable incomes in towns and cities rose 10.2 percent.
The larger developers ``can weather the government's crackdown,'' said Shanghai Securities' Wu.
Poly Real Estate Group Co., a developer formerly owned by China's army, advanced 0.31 yuan, or 1.5 percent, to 20.52. Finance Street Holding Co., a Beijing-based real-estate developer, added 0.02 yuan, or 0.2 percent, to 8.20.
Henan Yuguang Gold & Lead, China's largest producer of lead and silver products, climbed 0.06 yuan, or 1 percent, to 5.93. It said first-half profit rose 33 percent from a year earlier to 55.3 million yuan as prices of the metals increased.
Rising incomes in China are driving up demand for lead, used in car batteries, and silver for jewelry. Lead for three- month delivery on the London Metal Exchange averaged $1,023 a ton in the six months ended June 30, compared with $888 a year earlier. Silver hit a 25-year high of $15.20 an ounce in May in New York.
Elsewhere, Daqin Railway Co., the operator of China's biggest coal transport network, gained 0.57 yuan, or 12 percent, to 5.52 after jumping as much as 29 percent on the first day of trading on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The company raised 15 billion yuan in the country's second-largest public offering.
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