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China stocks drop over property curb fears

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BEIJING, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- China's stocks closed lower on Monday on investors' speculation of new property curbs by the government, after more cities posted month-on-month home price rises in July.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.38 percent, or 7.93 points, to close at 2,106.96.

During the trading on Monday, the Shanghai Composite Index dived under the 2,100-point mark for the first time since March 2009 and hit a lowest level at 2,089.02 points.

The Shenzhen Component Index closed at 8,838.63, down 0.51 percent, or 44.98 points.

Losers outnumbered gainers by 487 to 415 in Shanghai, while gainers outnumbered losers by 878 to 570 in Shenzhen.

Combined turnover of the two bourses expanded slightly to 84.76 billion yuan (13.35 billion U.S. dollars) from 84.41 billion yuan the previous trading day.

In July, 50 cities, up from 25 in June, out of a statistical pool of 70 major cities recorded higher new home prices than a month earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said Saturday.

Senior Chinese leaders have repeatedly pledged that the country will continue its property tightening measures despite a slowdown in national economic growth.

Sparked by investors' speculation that the government may take further tightening measures, real estate developers were among the largest losers on Monday, with the sector's sub-index dropping 0.57 percent.

China Vanke, the nation's largest property developer, shed 1.28 percent to 8.5 yuan, and Poly Real Estate, the second-biggest, lost 3 percent to 10.02 yuan.

Bucking the trend, liquor producers gained, with their sub-index rising 0.98 percent.

Kweichow Moutai, a leading producer of high-end liquor in China, gained 1.32 percent to 232.65 yuan per share, while Wuliangye, another major player, gained 2.02 percent to close at 34.85 yuan.

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