By RTT News,
August 20, 2014, 09:15:00 PM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - The Hong Kong stock market has finished higher now in four consecutive trading days, climbing more than 360 points or 1.5 percent along the way. The Hang Seng Index closed just below the 25,160-point plateau, and the market may be stuck in neutral on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets remains murky with stocks wanting for direction, in spite of the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were mixed but little changed - and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.
The Hang Seng finished slightly higher on Wednesday as gains from the property stocks were capped by weakness from the oil companies and telecoms, plus a mixed performance from the financial shares.
For the day, the index collected 36.81 points or 0.15 percent to finish at 25,159.76 after trading between 25,056.71 and 25, 190.03 in turnover of 70.36 billion Hong Kong dollars.
Among the actives, Wharf Holdings spiked 2.76 percent, while Sino Land surged 2.79 percent, HSBC eased 0.20 percent, Bank of East Asia collected 0.90 percent, Henderson Land jumped 2.10 percent, Galaxy Entertainment shed 0.48 percent, China Chemical and Petroleum (Sinopec) fell 0.39 percent, China Resources tumbled 1.03 percent, China Unicom dropped 1.49 percent, China Mobile fell 1.15 percent and PetroChina lost 0.92 percent.
The lead from Wall Street provides little clarity as stocks fluctuated on Wednesday before ending mixed.
While the Dow rose 59.54 points or 0.4 percent to 16,979.13, the S&P 500 moved within striking distance of a new record high by climbing 4.91 points or 0.3 percent to 1,986.51.
On the other hand, the NASDAQ edged down 1.03 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 4,526.48 after ending the previous session at a 14-year closing high.
Stocks saw considerable volatility following the release of the Fed's minutes from its July meeting - in which it voted 9-1 to maintain its current policy of gradually withdrawing stimulus from the U.S. economy.
Most Fed officials don't expect to start raising rates until next year, but the minutes said some members are now lobbying for a "relatively prompt" rate hike. But the majority of Fed voters think the central bank should be patient before hiking rates, thanks to a soft labor market.
Later today, Hong Kong will release consumer price numbers for July; the inflation rate is expected to remain unchanged at 3.6 percent.
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