China to Purchase Stocks, ‘Backstop’ Market

The Chinese government is taking measures to stop the declines in the stock market, according to Market Watch:

The government said a unit of its sovereign wealth fund will purchase shares in three of its largest banks, according to the state-run Xinhua News. State-owned enterprises will also be encouraged to buy back their own shares, and the current levy on stock purchases will be eliminated.

Central Huijin Investment Co, a unit of the $200 billion China Investment Corp. sovereign wealth fund, will purchase additional shares in the three lenders: Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (HK:349: news, chart, profile) China Construction Bank (HK:939: news, chart, profile) and Bank of China (HK:3988: news, chart, profile) , Xinhua reported.

Authorities did not indicate how much they planned to spend on the purchases, but said operations had begun Thursday.

Also, CITIC is denying rumors that it was going to buy Morgan Stanley amidst the current credit crisis in the U.S., the Guardian reports.

CNBC reported that CITIC Group, China’s largest financial conglomerate and parent of CITIC Securities, was in talks with Morgan Stanley, which is scrambling to seek a buyer as fear grips the financial markets.
“I have no idea if our group is holding any kind of talks on investments in Morgan Stanley but I am sure that CITIC Securities is not in any talks of that kind,” said a CITIC Securities executive, who declined to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the situation.

A representative for CITIC Group could not be reached for comment despite repeated phone calls, but several senior bankers agreed that Chinese interest in buying a major Wall Street bank at this time would be difficult to imagine.

September 18, 2008 10:18 PM
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