August 13, 2012 10:56 am

Chinese financial stocks tumble

Asian shares lost ground on Monday, led lower by the biggest single day fall on the Shanghai Composite seen in nearly a month.

Chinese losses were led by financial groups. China Life and Ping An fell after the China Insurance Regulatory Commission reported that the country’s insurers had a combined Rmb9.2bn loss in 2011 from mandatory third party liability vehicle insurance.

Shares in China Life fell 5.1 per cent to Rmb17.90, New China Life Insurance fell 8 per cent to Rmb28.40, while Ping An Insurance shed 6.5 per cent to Rmb41.92.

But shares in securities and brokerage firms were the biggest fallers. Everbright Securities lost 9.3 per cent to Rmb11.31, Haitong Securities fell 8.6 per cent to Rmb8.90, while Citic Securities shed 9.1 per cent to Rmb10.99.

The Shanghai Composite index fell 1.5 per cent to 2,136.01 and contributed to a 0.2 per cent loss on the FTSE Asia Pacific index to 232.67.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index eased 0.1 per cent to 8,885.15, with investors appearing only slightly perturbed by lower-than-expected quarterly economic growth data. Instead they focused hopes that the dismal GDP figures would prompt authorities into stimulus action.

Nippon Sheet Glass stood towering above the rest with a gain of 10.7 per cent to Y62 after reports the company was to complete construction of a touch screen manufacturing plant in Vietnam. The company halted the project earlier in the year due to the slowing touchscreen market.

Dai-Ichi Life Insurance climbed 1.2 per cent to Y81,900 after reporting forecast-beating first-quarter profits. At the other end of the index was Taiheiyo Cement, which dropped 4.5 per cent to Y171 after its quarterly earnings disappointed.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index slipped 0.3 per cent to 20,081.36, while Seoul’s Kospi Composite slid 0.7 per cent to 1,932.44.

Australian shares bucked the trend, with the S&P/ASX 200 index climbing 0.1 per cent to 4,283.3.

Leading the benchmark was BlueScope Steel, up 34.6 per cent to A$0.35 after it announced asset sales worth US$540m to Nippon Steel of Japan.

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