THE announcement of lower than expected earnings saw some companies' share prices slump yesterday. Maanshan Iron and Steel (Magang) tumbled 8.9 per cent, or 14 cents, to $1.42 on worse than expected earnings for last year. It was one of the most heavily traded stocks, with 18.4 million shares worth $26.3 million traded. Magang was expected to post a poor result but it was worse than expected. Hit by the mainland's weak steel market and an increase in production costs, the company's profit was down 44 per cent to 749.4 million yuan (about HK$687 million). Lai Sun Development, which saw its interim profit plunge 46 per cent because of the slump in the property market, shed seven cents, or seven per cent, to close at 92 cents. Profit at the property firm was $373 million, against $692 million previously. The dividend was slashed to 2.5 cents compared with three cents. However, fellow property firm Hoi Sing jumped eight cents to 66 cents on speculation that the prospective buyer of a substantial stake in the firm was a strong party with good connections in China. Volume was 9.7 million shares worth $6.09 million. The firm earlier revealed that a potential buyer was involved in talks on taking Shougang Grand's substantial stake in Hoi Sing. Champion Technology was still in the limelight as trading in the firm's shares remained active. The counter, still plagued by uncertainty surrounding its paging business in China, dropped one cent to 60 cents. It has fluctuated since it came out with an unsatisfactory interim earnings report in late March. China Strategic gained 22.5 cents, or 7.5 per cent, to $3.225 after registering 20 per cent growth in profit to $182.5 million. Guangdong Investment lost 2.5 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to $3.60 ahead of the release of its final results this Friday. CNT Group lost 1.5 cents, or 4.6 per cent, to 30.5 cents. Trading in the counter has become more active since April 18 when the share price was pushed to a month's high of 35.5 cents.