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Shipping lanes drag HK stocks down

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ship_2 May 9, 2012 (Chinavestor) Chinese stocks lost ground in Asia on Wednesday as Greece's political gridlock weighted on markets globally. The Hang Seng Index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSI) slipped 154.1 points or 0.8% while the Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001) fell 40.3 points or 1.7% for the day. The decline was universal on the mainland where all but one among the 50 largest components of the Shanghai Composite ended Wednesday in the red. The decline was universal among Chinese stocks listed in Hong Kong as well. All but two stocks from the Xinhua 25 Index fell in Hong Kong.

China Cosco (HKG:1919), Asia's largest container shipping liner, fell in both key Asian markets as Vale continued to sideline the company from iron ore shipments from Brazil. Another shipping company, CSCL (HKG:2866), fell 9.1% on freight rates and escalating tension between Brazil and China. Chinese authorities continue to deny entry of Vale's ValeMax 400,000 BRT super-sized iron ore ships to deep see Chinese ports such as Dailan. Now Vale is not accepting COSCO and CSCL ships in retribution.

Besides shipping companies, power generators had an important market day on Wednesday. China lowered wholesale and retail fuel prices for the first time in seven months with coal prices expected to follow. Falling coal prices improve profits for power generators, a force that's behind the advance of Huaneng Power (HKG:0901) as well as Huadian Power (HKG:1071).

Chinese airliners did well thanks to falling kerozene prices, too. China Southern Airlines (HKG:1055) advanced 1.7%, the most among 42 composnts of the Hang Seng Index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSI).

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