Sparkle and shine it didn't, but turnover was massive and the fact that China Construction Bank ended unchanged on its debut would have come as a huge relief to many investors after recent speculation that the high issue price and weak market conditions would drag it lower. Having just raised $62.24 billion in Hong Kong's largest ever initial public offering, the mainland lender was most likely also pleased not to have to soil the record books with a closing price below the offer price on day one - even if it might have been acceptable given the rest of the market fell 0.53 per cent. 'It's ideal to have a steady start for the share price,' CCB chairman Guo Shuqing said at yesterday's listing ceremony. And steady it was. The share price spent the entire day hovering between the $2.35 issue price and $2.375, leaving the intraday price chart looking a lot like a bar code. But the turnover did stand out. With $8.58 billion worth of shares traded, CCB accounted for 36 per cent of total market turnover and exceeded the $7 billion achieved by China Life Insurance on its first day in December 2003 and the $5.1 billion traded on Bank of Communications' debut in June. Both of those IPOs were smaller than CCB's but they also racked up respectable gains on day one, with China Life adding 24.8 per cent and BoCom up 13 per cent. Brokers said some institutional investors were selling CCB at $2.375 - a small profit - with the aim of buying the shares back at a lower price in the near future, as they felt the current valuation of 1.96 times book was a bit too aggressive. Most retail investors who had borrowed money to subscribe also offloaded at least part of their allocations in order to pay the interest costs, although they had to do so at a loss. Some observers estimated the share price would have had to rise between 6 per cent and 10 per cent for retail investors with margin financing to break even, while at the top end of yesterday's range the price was up only 1.06 per cent. 'A lot of retail investors got out of the game in the last half hour, but I believe some of them had been buying in the morning hoping for a rebound,' said Alex Tang, a research director with Core Pacific-Yamaichi International. The selling was partly offset by institutional investors, but Morgan Stanley, which acted as the stabilising agent on behalf of the underwriting syndicate, also played a big role in keeping the price at par. 'The heavy trading volume and the narrow spread is a fair indication that there are a lot of sellers who are looking to get out, but the sponsor did a good job containing that,' one trader said. Selling pressure could increase today when the stock becomes eligible for short-selling, although there should be some mitigating demand from index-tracking funds, as CCB will go into the FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index. Morgan Stanley Capital International also announced yesterday that the stock would be included in its widely followed MSCI index series from November 10.