(RTTNews.com) - The Hong Kong stock market has moved lower in two straight sessions, plummeting more than 900 points or 3 percent along the way. The Hang Seng Index now rests just beneath the 28,225-point plateau although it's due for a rebound on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is flat to lower, thanks to concerns of violence in the Middle East and a decline in crude oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were mixed and little changed and the Asian markets figure to follow suit.
The Hang Seng finished sharply lower on Wednesday with damage across the board - particularly among the insurance and oil companies, and the casinos and properties.
Among the actives, China Life plunged 4.36 percent, while Ping An plummeted 4.20 percent, CNOOC tumbled 3.11 percent, Galaxy Entertainment dropped 2.68 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China skidded 2.16 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) retreated 1.97 percent, BOC Hong Kong shed 1.92 percent, Sands China lost 1.71 percent, Kunlun Energy surged 1.30 percent, Li & Fung lost 1.11 percent, New World Development fell 1.08 percent, Lenovo Group slid 0.91 percent, Hong Kong & China Gas retreated 0.65 percent and Belle International was unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks turned in a lackluster performance on Wednesday, bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before ending mixed.
The NASDAQ added 14.16 points or 0.21 percent to 6,776.38, while the Dow shed 39.73 points or 0.16 percent to 24,140.91 and the S&P 500 fell 0.30 points or 0.01 percent to 2,629.27.
The choppy trading came as traders expressed uncertainty about the economic impact of the Republican tax reform plan.
Concerns about the possibility of violence in the Middle East also weighed on the markets as President Donald Trump announced he is officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In economic news, payroll processor ADP noted a slightly bigger than expected increase in private sector employment. Also, the Labor Department saw a significant increase in labor productivity in the third quarter.
Crude oil futures plunged Wednesday, extending recent losses after official data confirmed a huge build in U.S. gasoline supplies. WTI light sweet crude oil for January was down $1.66 or 2.9 percent to $55.96 a barrel.
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