SHANGHAI'S Credit Lyonnais A share index plummeted 181.33 points, or 5.74 per cent, to finish at 2,975.85 yesterday as large institutions followed small investors and fled the market, according to brokers. Turnover was 1.3 billion yuan, slightly less than Tuesday's 1.31 billion. The index is at its lowest level since the start of last year. By mid-afternoon, some small investors were venturing back into the market but were overwhelmed by selling pressure in the last 30 minutes of trading. ''The short-lived rebound was supported by big speculators,'' a broker at Zhongnan Securities said. ''But this did not indicate any change in sentiment. ''Confidence continues to bleed out of the market and a recovery is unlikely in the near future.'' Brokers said the most significant development yesterday was the withdrawal of institutional funds in preparation for investment in a 65 billion yuan bond issue planned later this year by the newly created Development Bank. Maanshan Iron and Steel, by far the largest counter on the market with 450 million listed shares, dipped 0.06 yuan to 2.06, putting downward pressure on the whole index. One broker said the index would open sharply lower today and test a new resistance level of 530 points. The B share index followed the A index down, losing 13.44 points, or 1.87 per cent, to close at 703.73.