The Hong Kong stock market on Friday ended the two-day losing streak in which it had fallen almost 330 points or 1.5 percent. The Hang Seng Index finished just above the 20,115-point plateau, and now analysts are predicting continued support for the market at the opening of trade on Monday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is flat with a hint of upside thanks to better than expected consumer sentiment data from the United States, as well as some upbeat corporate earnings news as the season winds down. The European and U.S. markets finished with mild upside, and the Asian bourses are expected to open in similar fashion.
The Hang Seng finished modestly higher on Friday following gains from the technology stocks.
For the day, the index collected 153.12 points or 0.77 percent to finish at 20,116.07 after trading between 20,047.64 and 20,147.39 on volume of 47.44 billion Hong Kong dollars.
Among the actives, China Resources Enterprise surged 11.2 percent, Tencent climbed 1.5 percent and Lenovo spiked 5.2 percent, while Chalco eased 0.3 percent and China Mobile plummeted 3.7 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is cautiously optimistic as stocks ended Friday's trading with modest gains, extending a recent advance. A choppy session ended with some momentum going into the close. Better-than-expected economic news solidified market sentiment and allowed the major averages to continue their recent upward drift.
Stocks bounced around through much of the session, with the major averages spending some time in negative territory. The NASDAQ was able to gain ground following the mid-morning. The Dow and S&P 500 held closer to the unchanged mark. Shares received some additional buying interest headed into the close. This allowed the major averages to post modest gains on the session.
Investors were cheered by some positive data on consumer sentiment. Consumer attitudes have improved in August, according to a closely watched survey, rising to their highest level in three months. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index advanced to 73.6 for the month, up from a reading of 72.3 in July. The result topped the figure predicted by economists.
In corporate news, retailer Gap (GPS) revealed earnings for the second quarter that rose 29 percent from last year and topped the amount analysts had predicted. The company also raised its forecast.
Ann Inc. (ANN) was another retailer that posted gains on the session. The owner of the Ann Taylor chain of women's clothing stores beat expectations with its quarterly profit and issued a strong outlook. Shares of Ann climbed $5.75, or 20.4 percent, to close at $33.89.
The major U.S. averages were slightly higher on Friday as the Dow gained 25.09 points, or 0.19 percent, to finish at 13,275.20. The NASDAQ rose 14.20 points, or 0.46 percent, to end at 3,076.59. The S&P 500, which posted its sixth consecutive week of gains, gained 2.65, or 0.19 percent to close at 1,418.16.
by RTT Staff Writer
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