China shares close down as financials, gold firms falter

Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:12am EST

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Feb 18 (Reuters) - China shares closed lower on Monday, dragged down by large-cap finance and insurance companies and by weakness in gold-related stocks, as markets reopened after a week-long holiday.

The CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings ended down 1.2 percent at 2,737.5 points.

The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.5 percent to close at 2,421.6 points after hitting a multi-month high on Feb. 8, the last trading day before markets closed for the Chinese Spring Festival holiday week.

The weak performance on the mainland surprised investors on the Hong Kong exchange, analysts said, depressing the Hang Seng Index in intra-day trade.

Gold fell to a six-month low during the Chinese new year holiday after the euro slipped from a 15-month high on renewed worries about the health of the euro zone economy. It rebounded slightly on Monday as bargain hunters resurfaced and jewellers in China returned to the physical market. (Reporting by Chen Yixin and Kazunori Takada; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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