The Hong Kong stock market has moved higher now in five consecutive trading days, surging more than 920 points or 4.7 percent in that span. The Hang Seng Index closed just above the 20,075-point plateau, and now analysts are expecting traders to move to the sidelines at the opening of trade on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed with a touch of upside as good news from Europe is tempered by apprehension ahead of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision later today. Germany's top court has cleared the way for the ratification of the European Stability Mechanism. But continued uncertainty about further stimulus from the Fed may limit the upside for the markets. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourses were slightly higher, and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.
The Hang Seng finished sharply higher on Wednesday following gains from the financial shares, property stocks and oil companies.
For the day, the index spiked 217.51 points or 1.10 percent to finish at 20,075.39 after trading between 19,996.14 and 20,118.19 on volume of 50.34 billion Hong Kong dollars.
Among the gainers, Cheung Kong jumped 2.01 percent, while HSBC climbed 0.86 percent, Hang Seng Bank added 0.80 percent, China Construction Bank collected 1.40 percent, New World Development surged 3.40 percent, Sino Land jumped 3.27 percent, China Overseas Land spiked 1.61 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China rose 0.95 percent, PetroChina added 1.38 percent and CNOOC climbed 1.36 percent.
The lead from Wall Street suggests mild upside as stocks moved modestly higher on Wednesday but ended well off their best levels of the day. The markets benefited from a positive reaction to the latest news out of Europe, but buying interest was subdued ahead of a closely watched announcement from the Federal Reserve.
The upside followed news that Germany's Federal Constitutional Court cleared the way for the ratification of the European Stability Mechanism, rejecting temporary injunctions against the European bailout fund. The court imposed certain conditions, capping Germany's liability. The court said Germany must cap its bailout fund liability at 190 billion euros and said further expansion of the country's share needs Parliament's approval.
However, continued uncertainty about further stimulus from the Federal Reserve helped to limit the upside for the markets, with the central bank due to announce its latest monetary policy decision later today. Many analysts expect the Fed to announce a third round of quantitative easing, but traders seemed reluctant to make any significant moves ahead of the actual announcement.
Traders shrugged off a Labor Department report showing that U.S. import prices rose by less than expected in August despite a rebound in fuel prices. Also, U.S. export prices increased by more than expected during the month amid another notable increase in prices for agricultural exports. A separate report from the Commerce Department showed that wholesale inventories rebounded by more than expected in July.
The major U.S. averages were up on Wednesday as the Dow inched up 9.99 points or 0.1 percent to finish at 13,333.35, while the NASDAQ rose 9.78 points or 0.3 percent to end at 3,114.31 and the S&P 500 edged up 3.00 points or 0.2 percent to close at 1,436.56.
In economic news, Hong Kong will on Thursday provide Q2 numbers for industrial production and producer prices. Output was down 1.6 percent on year in Q1, while PPI was up 3.5 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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