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Stocks

Stock gyrates over appointment of director named 'Xi'

SHANGHAI -- Shares of Henan Lotus Flower Gourmet Powder are on a roller coaster ride here as the Chinese company declared, then mysteriously retracted, the appointment of a director who bears a name strikingly similar to that of the national leader.

     The seasonings maker had said Tuesday it picked Xi Yinping as an independent director. Xi Yinping was born in China's Shaanxi Province and has worked as a vice chairman of Shaanxi's Xi Zhongxun research society since 2014, filings with the Shanghai Stock Exchange show. Xi Zhongxun, a former vice premier, is the father of President Xi Jinping, who also was born in Shaanxi.

     After Xi Yinping's appointment, the company's stock shot up 10% Wednesday, the daily limit-up.

     But later that day, Henan Lotus said it was canceling Xi Yinping's appointment, giving no explanation beyond saying the issue was discussed with the nominating committee. Upon Thursday's open, the stock tumbled. Shares rallied later, but ended the day down 2.33%.

     "There is absolutely no cause for speculation concerning this episode," Chairman Xia Jiantong said Wednesday night in a Weibo microblog comment, effectively denying any ties between Xi Yinping and Xi Jinping.

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