Index sees worst month in nearly two years

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended down 0.99 percent to 3,259.41 points, recording a monthly decline of 6.36 percent, the most in two years. 

Shanghai stocks fell for the second day on Wednesday as weak factory data spurred worries about the momentum of economic recovery.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.99 percent to 3,259.41 points, recording a monthly decline of 6.36 percent, the most in two years.

Most Asian markets and major US stock indexes were under pressure after Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell downplayed concerns over market volatility, saying the United States central bank remained on course for more interest rate hikes.

China’s official gauge of manufacturing managers’ growth expectations came in at a 20-month low, falling to 50.3 in February — down a full point from January and its largest fall in more than six years.

Financial shares showed mixed results. Industrial Securities edged up 0.44 percent while China Merchants Securities shrank 1.84 percent to 17.10 yuan (US$2.70) and China Life Insurance slid 2.04 percent to 26.86 yuan. 

Defense and marine shares picked up after China Shipbuilding Industry Corp said it's speeding up technology research and development for the country's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

China State Shipbuilding Corp Science & Technology Co surged the daily limit of 10 percent and Jiangsu Asian Star Anchor Chain Co Ltd jumped 4.48 percent.

The retail sector and software service providers boomed amid prospects that unmanned retailing would boost operation efficiency and earnings. Client Service International Inc advanced 5.08 percent to 27.72 yuan.

Suning.com Co edged up 0.16 percent to 12.50 yuan. Beijing Hualian Department Store surged the daily limit of 10 percent.

Orient Securities wrote in a research note that stock performance has been largely divided with no significant capital pouring into the market but the overall upward trend remains unchanged. Chip makers and 5G telecommunications technology providers may outperform the market, it added.

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