THE listing today of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Real Estate and Properties (Group) on the Shenzhen stock exchange is expected to be a pointer to this year's B-share market. The property giant is the first company to list B shares in Shenzhen since the second half of last year, when foreigners turned their backs on the market. It will also be the largest firm on the exchange in terms of share capital, with 775.5 million shares after listing, although it might not be the largest in terms of market capitalisation. The improved investment environment and sentiment among foreigners in the mainland equities markets in the fourth quarter had little effect on Shenzhen. This contrasts with the Shanghai B-share market, where the bulls have been prevailing, attracted by the increase in companies offering shares and higher liquidity. Because of this, Shenzhen securities and government officials are viewing the B-share listing of Shenzhen Real Estate with caution. A good showing is expected to strengthen foreign interest in the market, which will set a good example for upcoming B-share listings. Conversely, a poor performance would dash the hopes of foreigners for improved sentiment on the market, if not decide the fate of impending listings in Shenzhen. The group has offered 100 million new shares at $3.50 each for foreigners, following its offer of 112 million A shares to mainlanders. A Shenzhen Securities and Exchange Commission official said that although many firms had been working with their advisers on issuing B shares, the listing schedule would partly depend on the market situation. ''The share launches will depend very much on the listings' progress and the market situation, although many of them are close to finalising their issues,'' he said.