China shares close down on weak manufacturing data, IPOs

BEIJING, April 23 Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:05am EDT

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BEIJING, April 23 (Reuters) - China shares fell on Wednesday, with sentiment bogged down by a preliminary survey showing Chinese manufacturing activity contracted for a fourth straight month in April.

The spectre of more listings also unnerved investors, who fear more initial public offerings may lead to funds being diverted from existing companies into new stocks.

The Shanghai Composite Index ended 0.3 percent lower at 2,067.38 points. The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings dropped 0.1 percent.

The HSBC/Markit flash Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) ticked up to 48.3 in April, an improvement on March's final reading of 48.0, but still below the 50 line separating expansion from contraction.

Meanwhile, China's regulator posted draft IPO prospectuses of a further 19 companies on its website on Tuesday night, paving the way for a total of 65 firms to launch IPOs.

Shanghai's Free Trade Zone stocks saw some of the biggest losses, as investors locked in gains from the previous day after the city's municipal government published new regulations aimed at facilitating commodities trading in the zone.

Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone Development Co Ltd contracted 4.0 percent and Shanghai Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone Development Co Ltd lost 2.6 percent. (Reporting By Natalie Thomas; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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