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China shares follow U.S. markets lower

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decline_7 Jan. 21, 2010 (Chinavestor) Chinese shares continued the free fall in Hong Kong but advanced in Shanghai  - a typical scenario when international investors react to a weak U.S .market day in Hong Kong but gain confidence from domestic news in Shanghai. The Hang Seng Index tumbled -423.5 points or -1.99% to 20,862.67 at the close on Thursday and is down by- 820 points or -3.79% for the week so far. The DJIA lost -122.28 points on Wednesday, the most in 2010, on China credit tightening and earnings fears. The fall in Hong Kong was universal, only airliners and China Unicom (HKG:0762) ended the day in the black. Chinese airliners continued to show resilience, Air China (HKG:0753) rose 5.6% followed by China Eastern Airlines (HKG:0670) and China Southern Airlines (HKG:1155) gaining 2.8% and 2.5%, respectively. Besides these four stocks all other forty Hang Seng Index component fell with Yanzhou Coal (HKG:1171) and Huaneng Power (HKG:0902) taking the lead.

But investors in Shanghai grew optimistic about Chinese equities after a strong 10.7% GDP growth in the fourth quarter and a 8.7% growth for 2009 full year. Financials, life insurance outperformed while resource plays and energy suffered.

Higher jobless numbers hurt index futures before the open. Xerox, Goldman Sachs, United Health reported better-than-expected earnings but failed to help lift index futures. Chinese ADRs are expected to follow U.S. markets lower - just as they did yesterday - except for airliners. Expect China Southern Air (NYSE:ZNH) and China Eastern Airlines (NYSE:CEA) to outperform on Thursday.

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