China Cosco Holdings, the mainland's biggest container shipping line, sailed into choppy waters yesterday as its shares made their debut on the stock market. The stock dropped as much as 12.94 per cent from its initial public offering price in a session which also saw the shares of two other newcomers battered, casting a storm cloud over other stock-market aspirants. The market's focus was on Cosco, whose shares lost the least in percentage terms, closing 10 per cent off their issued price of $4.25 at $3.825. Volume was 255.26 million shares. Mobile-phone maker Sim Technology Group fared the worst of the three newcomers. It dropped 15.88 per cent to $1.43 with 86.97 million shares changing hands, while fire alarm systems maker GST Holdings lost 13.95 per cent to $1.48 on a volume of 94.12 million shares. Market observers said the inauspicious start would overshadow forthcoming offerings as investor sentiment weakened further. They said the lack of investor interest did not augur well for four other companies which began taking retail subscriptions yesterday - speaker and handset maker Shinhint Acoustic Link, home electronics manufacturer Alltronics Holdings, asphalt trader Shanghai Donghua Petrochemical and Guangdong-based R&F Properties. The four plan to raise a combined $2.42 billion. 'The market expected a 5 per cent fall for each of the three listing companies but they all ended up worse,' said Kingston Lin, an associate director at Prudential Brokerage. A banker close to the GST share offering said the company had suffered after 'the slump in China Cosco Holdings triggered a lot of panic selling from retail investors'. Cosco opened at the day's low of $3.70, while GST and Sim started the trading at their highs of $1.66 and $1.65, respectively. GST traded at a low of $1.42 while Sim reached a low of $1.37. GST was considered the hottest share offering of the three with its retail tranche 20 times subscribed, which triggered a clawback mechanism that increased the retail allotment to 30 per cent from the original 10 per cent. In the final hour of trading, GST managed to rebound slightly from the day's low as 'institution buys supported the performance', said the banker. Despite Cosco's lacklustre performance, chairman Wei Jiafu was upbeat. 'Investment is for the long term and investors will have a better understanding of the company after they see our interim results,' Mr Wei said.