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Chinese Stock Investors Empty 45,000 Accounts Amid Rebound

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Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Chinese stock investors emptied 45,000 accounts last week, a fourth straight week of withdrawals, even as the Shanghai Composite Index extended a rebound from an almost four-year low.

The number of stock accounts containing funds fell to 55.31 million, the lowest level since the week to Nov. 19, 2010, according to regulatory data compiled by Bloomberg. Investors emptied 293,000 accounts in the first three weeks of this month as the Shanghai Composite rose 8.8 percent.

The benchmark stock gauge climbed 2.5 percent on Dec. 25 to erase its loss for the year amid speculation the rebounding economy will bolster earnings. The World Bank says growth may be as much as 8.4 percent next year after a likely 7.9 percent expansion in 2012, set to be the weakest pace since 1999.

“Some retail investors may have sold their shares amid the rebound to exit the market,” said Wu Kan, a Shanghai-based fund manager at Dazhong Insurance Co., which oversees $285 million. “They are still worried that the rebound won’t last long after years of a bear market.”

The Shanghai Composite is 63 percent below its peak of 6,092.06 reached in October 2007 after falling for the past two years. The index was little changed at 2,220.19 at 1:42 p.m. local time.

The number of stock-trading accounts that made transactions in A shares last week increased to 9.6 million from 8.6 million the previous week, the highest level since the week to Sept. 14, the data show. Investors opened 111,953 accounts to trade stocks, the most since the week to Sept. 28.

Stock Valuations

The Shanghai index has advanced since falling to 1,959.77 on Dec. 3, its lowest level since January 2009. The measure closed at 2,219.13 yesterday and is now valued at 12.3 times reported earnings, after reaching a record low of 10.8.

Chinese industrial companies’ profits rose 22.8 percent in November from a year earlier to 638.5 billion yuan ($102.2 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said on its website today. That exceeded gains of 20.5 percent the previous month and 7.8 percent in September.

To contact the Bloomberg News staff on this story: Richard Frost in Hong Kong at rfrost4@bloomberg.net; Zhang Shidong in Shanghai at szhang5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Allen Wan at awan3@bloomberg.net