Hong Kong Shares May Find Traction On Friday

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(RTTNews.com) - The Hong Kong stock market has finished lower in back-to-back sessions, tumbling almost 275 points or 1.1 percent along the way. The Hang Seng Index now rests beneath the 25,480-point plateau although it may halt its slide on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is cautiously optimistic as the U.S. stock markets shrugged off heavy damage in the morning to rise again on bargain hunting - although weakness from crude oil prices may cap the upside.

The Hang Seng finished modestly lower on Thursday following losses from the financials, properties and oil and insurance companies.

For the day, the index lost 172.50 points or 0.67 percent to finish at 25,478.88 after trading between 25,446.80 and 25,920.63.

Among the actives, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) plummeted 4.68 percent, while CSPC Pharmaceutical plunged 3.60 percent, Hang Lung Properties tumbled 2.25 percent, New World Development skidded 1.69 percent, China Mengniu Dairy dropped 1.47 percent, Ping An Insurance retreated 1.36 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China declined 1.27 percent, WH Group contracted 0.84 percent, BOC Hong Kong shed 0.69 percent, China Life Insurance lost 0.61 percent, China Mobile climbed 0.61 percent, CNOOC added 0.51 percent, AIA Group fell 0.47 percent, Hong Kong & China Gas gained 0.37 percent, Tencent Holdings dipped 0.32 percent, Sands China rose 0.15 percent and Galaxy Entertainment was up 0.10 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks shook off heavy weakness on Thursday morning, skyrocketing off their worst levels of the day and into positive territory.

The Dow jumped 260.24 points or 1.14 percent to 23,138.69, while the NASDAQ added 25.14 points or 0.38 percent to 6,579.49 and the S&P 500 gained 21.13 points or 0.86 percent to 2,488.83.

The early weakness came as traders cashed in on Wednesday's surge, which saw the Dow record its biggest single-day gain ever. Lingering concerns about the global economic outlook may also have weighed - although the late-day rally came on further bargain hunting.

In economic news, the Conference Board noted a significant deterioration in consumer confidence in December. Also, the Labor Department saw a slight drop in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended December 22.

Crude oil futures declined sharply Thursday - one day after rebounding from 18-month lows. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for February ended down $1.61 or 3.5 percent at $44.61 a barrel.

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