Markets nosedive, but autos stay buoyant

It was the first time in six trading days that the Shanghai bourse fell below 3,200 points. 

Chinese stocks had a major setback on Thursday with most sectors falling substantially.

The Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.6 percent to close at 3,189.96 points after an intraday low of 3,185.55 points.

It was the first time in six trading days that it fell below 3,200 points. The Shenzhen Component Index fell 2.65 percent to 10,158.4 points and the ChiNext lost 2.06 percent to 1,691.1 points.

Turnover on the two bourses dropped to 817.3 billion yuan (US$121.67 billion) from Wednesday's 899 billion yuan.

Liquor and pharmaceutical makers, which were among the major gainers in previous trading days, led the day's decliners. Jiugui Liquor Co plunged 9.3 percent, Wuliangye Yibin Co dived 6.73 percent and Kweichow Moutai Co dropped 2.4 percent, but remained above 900 yuan for the fourth straight day. Pharmaceutical companies fell an average 2.76 percent with Tonghua Golden-Horse Pharmaceutical Industry Co and Zhejiang Tianyu Pharmaceutical Co both losing more than 8 percent.

Bucking the downward trend, automakers extended their rally for another day. The sector increased 3.28 percent following a gain of 3.58 percent on Wednesday with several companies, including Dongfeng Motor Corp, Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co and Tianjin Faw Xiali Automobile Co hitting the 10-percent daily cap.

March car sales jumped more than 48 percent month on month to 1.74 million vehicles, indicating the decline in the world's largest auto market is turning around.

Livestock- and poultry-raising firms also stayed in positive territory, gaining 0.62 percent on average, as the official consumer price index for March was released today.

The CPI rose 2.3 percent year on year in March, picking up from 1.5 percent in February and the highest since November 2018, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.

Prices of pork and poultry rose 5.1 percent and 4 percent, respectively, from the same time a year ago, according to the bureau.

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