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1st LD-Writethru: Chinese stocks close lower Wednesday

Xinhua, April 15, 2015 Adjust font size:

Chinese stocks ended lower on Wednesday as new data indicated continuing downward pressure on the economy.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged down 1.24 percent, or 51.4 points, to finish at 4,084.16 points.

The Shenzhen Component Index lost 2.82 percent, or 395.86 points, to close at 13,646.61 points.

China's economic growth slowed to 7 percent in the first quarter of the year, down from 7.3 percent in the fourth quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced on Wednesday.

The latest figure was better than forecasts by multiple institutions that first-quarter growth would fall slightly below 7 percent due to weak investment and demand. It also meets the official annual growth target of around 7 percent for 2015.

However, consumers appeared increasingly reluctant to spend. Retail sales grew 10.2 percent in March from a year earlier, down from 10.7 percent in the January-February period and an annual rise of 12 percent in 2014.

Industrial output slid further. It grew 6.4 percent year on year in the first three months, down from the 8.7 percent of the same period last year.

The online education and medical equipment sectors suffered great losses. Nanjing-based Focus Technology Co., Ltd., Beijing Lanxum Technology Co., Ltd. and Andon Health Co., Ltd. fell by the daily limit of 10 percent. Shanghai Conat Optics Co., Ltd. dived 7.57 percent to 16.72 yuan per share.

The railway construction sector made strong gains. China's top train makers CSR Corp. and CNR Corp. both rose by the daily limit of 10 percent.

Chen Wei, an analyst with CITIC Securities expects more volatility in the coming days as the market needs some correction following rapid rises over the past weeks, adding that small shares carry more risks.

The ChiNext Index, tracking China's Nasdaq-style board of growth enterprises, dived 4.58 percent, or 117.11 points, to end at 2,441.74 points. Endi