A FIFTH paper joined the bitter price war last night as media stocks fell by up to 15 per cent. The Chinese-language Tin Tin Daily News slashed its cover charge from $5 to $2 after four rivals cut prices over the weekend in a ruthless battle for readers. Alex Kwan, director of publishing for Tin Tin's holding company, Culturecom, said the paper had been 'forced into a corner'. Tin Tin's circulation has dropped 70,000 to just above 100,000 in the past year. In the past few days, Oriental Daily News and Sing Pao Daily News cut their prices from $5 to $2. Newcomer Apple Daily dropped to $4 and Hong Kong Daily News fell to $1. Last night, Express News and Ming Pao said they would not drop their prices at the moment. The share price of major newspaper stocks was severely battered yesterday as investors raced to dump shares. Oriental Press Group, publishers of best-selling Oriental Daily News, slumped to a year-low of $2.675, falling 52.5 cents. Hong Kong Daily News' share price went down 15 cents to 98 cents. Sing Tao dropped 67.5 cents to $3.50 and Ming Pao lost 10 cents to $3.70. Stock analysts immediately revised profit forecasts downwards. They predicted Oriental Press Group would be hard hit. Analyst Cindy Luk of DBS said the profit forecast on Oriental Press Group before the price war was a fall of 25 per cent for the financial year ended March 31, 1996. But since the launch of the cut-throat tactics, she expected to see the group's net profit slashed by $215 million - a 47 per cent drop compared to last year. She said the launch of Apple Daily had cut the circulation of the Oriental Daily News from 450,000 to 400,000 a day. James Miles of Asia Equity said: 'It is costing the Oriental Press Group $900,000 a day in revenue when compared to last week [before cutting the sales price].' Ming Pao's profits were also expected to fall 26 per cent compared to last year. Meanwhile, the Consumer Council said the outbreak of the war among the Chinese language papers highlighted an urgent need for a Fair Trade Commission. The watchdog said consumers may benefit in the short term from lower prices. But the long-term effects were less predictable and could force newspapers out of the market and reduce choice. But the council stressed it did not advocate price-fixing arrangements in any industry. The Secretary for Trade and Industry, Denise Yue Chung-yee, said the Government have to observe the situation before considering whether any intervention was required to end the newspaper war. Amid the drama of the price war, TV Daily News printed its last edition yesterday after 26 years.