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China: Stocks fall despite fewer IPOs


[SHANGHAI] China's stocks fell on Monday, as a cooling pace of initial public offerings failed to offset large losses in financial and healthcare stocks.

The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.5 percent, to 3,468.75 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.4 per cent to 3,091.66 points.

The Shanghai SE 50 Index, dubbed "China's nifty 50 index", dropped 1 per cent, in contrast with a gain of 0.9 per cent in the tech-heavy start-up board ChiNext.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) approved on Friday only four IPOs to raise up to 1.5 billion yuan (S$304.1 million), down from 7 IPOs in the past week.

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In recent weeks, the CSRC has typically approved a batch of 10 new IPOs each Friday aimed at raising about 6 billion yuan.

Expectations of the IPOs continuing at the pace seen in the past months had pressured the market, in particular those small-caps with relatively higher valuations.

"The slower pace of IPOs could be a trend for now," said Yang Weixiao, an analyst with Founder Securities, adding the cooling reflects CSRC's intention to prop up the market that has been hurt by tighter financial regulations and liquidity.

However, the relief was largely offset by sharp losses in financial stocks, in particular bank stocks, whose index posted the worst day since mid-December.

There was a lack of fundamental support in the recent strong rally in those banking plays, and the correction now was mainly due to profit taking, Yang said.

The securities regulator had recently published a series of new regulations to help maintain stability in the stock market, but caution prevailed amid lingering worries over economic growth and tighter regulations.

Market reaction was largely muted to China's services sector expanding at the fastest pace in four months in May.

Main sectors fell across the board, led by financial and healthcare shares.