Chinese stocks plunged Wednesday as investors dumped financial and property shares amid a global sell-off triggered by Citigroup's overnight report of huge sub-prime losses.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index lost 2.81 percent to close at 5,290.60 points, while the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index dropped 2.42 percent to 1,538.35. Another indicator, the CSI 300 Index of major companies in the two bourses fell 3.35 percent to 5,505.71.
Investors look at the electronic board in a stock exchange in Beijing Jan 16, 2008. Chinese stocks plunged Wednesday as investors dumped financial and property shares amid a global sell-off triggered by Citigroup's overnight report of huge sub-prime losses. [Asiannewsphoto]
The sell-off came amid a global meltdown after Citigroup reported a US$9.8 billion loss in the fourth quarter due to its heavy exposure to sub-prime mortgages.
Weak US retail sales figures for December added to investors' anxiety, fearing that world's largest economy is heading into a recession that could lead to a global slowdown.
In response, investors dumped shares, driving down major US indices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.17 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 index 2.49 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index 2.45 percent.
In Europe, the FTSE Eurofirst 300 shed 2.6 percent and the FTSE 100 in London dropped 3.1 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 3.35 percent.
Back in Shanghai and Shenzhen, financial shares were the biggest losers, with the Industrial Bank nose-diving 8.48 percent to close at 53.5 yuan per share, followed by a 5.6 percent loss in China Merchants Bank to 39.47 yuan.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China fell 2.59 percent to 7.91 yuan, while Bank of China declined 2.66 percent to 6.59 yuan.
Property shares were also hit hard. China Vanke tumbled 5.52 percent to 28.58 yuan, while Financial Street Holding plunged 8.19 percent to 28.92 yuan.
Beijing Shoufang Investment Consulting Co called today's market "an overreaction". "The loss in Citigroup has no real relationship with the profitability of Chinese financial institutions," it said in a report.
It believed the market has limited room for further drops, as financial shares, which have a heavy rating in the Shanghai Composite Index, have been in a correction for more than one month.