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SHANGHAI, May 18 (Reuters) - China's main stock indexes sagged on Monday ahead of a fresh wave of new share sales, but the Nasdaq-style board ChiNext surged to new heights as investors shift interest to small-caps.
The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen fell 0.9 percent, to 4,575.14, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6 percent, to 4,283.49 points.
But ChiNext, the Shenzhen-based start-up board surged 4.5 percent to a record close, after China's securities regulator on Friday denied media reports that it was urging fund managers to reduce holdings of ChiNext stocks.
The excitement also rippled into other boards in Shenzhen , home to China's small and medium-sized enterprises.
"Most of the investors on the mainland believe that if you want to make big money, you have to look for the next-generation stocks...and smaller names, as they're the ones with hyper growth, and not subject so much to the (slowing) macro economy," said Arthur Kwong, head of Asia Pacific equities at BNP Paribas Investment Partners.
"Micro stories could be attractive...but the question mark, the big debate is, how much (earnings) multiple you're going to give."
A recent burst in buying has pushed the ChiNext index to more than 100 times earnings.
But big-cap stocks were under pressure as 20 companies are set to launch initial public offerings (IPOs) this week, which analysts estimate will freeze around 3 trillion yuan ($483.6 billion) of subscription capital.
Most China-listed property shares fell, dampened by April data showing China's new home prices fell for the eighth consecutive month from a year earlier.
Aluminum Corp Of China Ltd , which had surged over the past two sessions on consolidation expectations, slumped 8.7 percent in Shanghai, after the company said China's plan to consolidate the rare earth industry involves only its parent, not the listed unit. (Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)