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Ping An shares fall on slower profit rise
Last Updated: 2014-08-21 08:49 | Shanghai Daily
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Shares of Ping An Insurance Group, China's second-largest insurer, fell yesterday after its life insurance unit slowed the growth in profit.

The insurer fell 1.06 percent in Shanghai trading to 42.91 yuan (US$6.98) while its Hong Kong-listed shares shed 0.7 percent to HK$65.35 (US$8.43), both underperforming the local benchmark stock indexes.

Profit rose 19.3 percent year on year in the first half to 21.36 billion yuan, the insurer said in filings to the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges after the market closed on Tuesday.

In the first half of 2013, its profit surged 28.3 percent year on year.

The profit of the group's life insurance unit shed 0.5 percent to 9.3 billion yuan, overtaken for the first time by Ping An's banking sector whose profit surged 33.5 percent to 9.8 billion yuan.

Jason Yao, chief financial officer of Ping An, yesterday blamed the fall in life insurance profit to a loss from investment in the weak domestic stock market that caused a 7.6 billion yuan impairment of assets.

The unit's new business value, a key measure of insurance business profitability, rose 16.6 percent year on year.

Analysts said the first half met hopes but has room to improve.

"Profits of the group hardly grew in the second quarter due to impairment of assets, but the overall performance met our expectations," Guotai Junan Securities said in a report yesterday. "The stock market may recover in the second half, driving Ping An's profit growth to 29 percent for the whole year."

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