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China Stock Market May Find Traction On Monday

The China stock market has closed lower now in two straight sessions, retreating almost 30 points or 1.3 percent along the way. The Shanghai Composite Index finished just below the 2,350-point plateau, and now analysts are forecasting a mild rebound at the opening of trade on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed with a slight upside bias, with disappointing economic data from the United States offset by solid corporate earnings news. The European markets were mixed but little changed and the U.S. bourses ended slightly higher - and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The SCI finished sharply lower on Friday following heavy damage among the financial shares and the oil companies.

For the day, the index plunged 26.23 points or 1.10 percent to finish at 2,349.54 after trading between 2,342.12 and 2,371.26. The Shenzhen Composite Index dropped 1.8 percent to end at 952.80.

Among the decliners, Agricultural Bank of China shed 0.4 percent, while Industrial and Commercial Bank of China lost 0.9 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) fell 0.3 percent and PetroChina eased 0.1 percent.

The lead from Wall Street offers mild support as stocks finished a choppy day of trading in positive territory on Friday, overcoming an early dip to end the session with modest gains.

Shares dropped in early trading, threatening to continue a bout of profit taking that has marked most of the week. The morning slide came on the heels of disappointing new home sales data, which showed an unexpected decline for February. New home sales fell 1.6 percent in February, dropping to a pace of 313,000 homes. Prices were up, however, climbing 8.3 percent to $233,700.

On the corporate scene, Darden Restaurants (DRI) said its quarterly profit rose 8 percent from last year. The bottom line at the owner of the Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurant chains was boosted by sales that climbed to $2.2 billion from about $2 billion last year.

Micron Technology (MU) announced a loss for its latest quarter, reversing a profit posted in the same period last year. Sales and margins at the memory chip maker both deteriorated.

Nike (NKE) revealed a quarterly profit that rose 7 percent from last year. The athletic shoe maker said its revenue jumped 15 percent to nearly $5.9 billion.

IT services company Accenture (ACN) reported a stronger-than-expected rise in its quarterly profit. The company benefited from revenue growth across all operating groups. Accenture also raised its expectations for the full year.

Stocks quickly snapped back, although it took the NASDAQ most of the day to get back into positive territory. The major averages eventually finished the session higher. The Dow gained 34.59 points or 0.27 percent to finish at 13,080.73, while the NASDAQ advanced 4.60 points or 0.15 percent to end at 3,067.92. The S&P 500 climbed 4.33 points or 0.31 percent to close at 1,397.11.

In economic news, China and Indonesia agreed on Friday to strengthen consultation and cooperation so as to raise their bilateral strategic partnership to new heights. Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Indonesian counterpart Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in talks in Beijing also agreed to expand practical cooperation between the two countries and also exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern. Hu said since the establishment of the strategic partnership, bilateral links had seen healthy and rapid growth with fruitful cooperation in various areas.

by RTT Staff Writer

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