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Hong Kong Bourse May Add To Thursday's Gains

The Hong Kong stock market on Thursday snapped the two-day losing streak in which it had plummeted more than 900 points or 3 percent. The Hang Seng Index now rests just above the 28,300-point plateau and it may extend its gains on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is positive on optimism the U.S. government will avoid a shutdown, and a bump in crude oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were up and the Asian bourses figure to open in similar fashion.

The Hang Seng finished modestly higher on Thursday following gains from the casinos and the insurance companies.

For the day, the index advanced 78.39 points or 0.28 percent to finish at 28,303.19 after trading between 28,134.93 and 28,478.34.

Among the actives, Galaxy Entertainment surged 3.03 percent, while Ping An Insurance soared 2.40 percent, Sands China spiked 2.01 percent, Kunlun Energy advanced 1.85 percent, AIA Group skidded 1.62 percent, Sino Land tumbled 1.19 percent, Lenovo Group dropped 1.15 percent, WH Group climbed 1.09 percent, BOC Hong Kong jumped 0.78 percent, CNOOC shed 0.76 percent, Hong Kong & China Gas Company lost 0.52 percent, China Life added 0.21 percent, New World Development gained 0.187 percent and Henderson Land, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is firm as stocks saw moderate strength on Thursday, although they remained beneath their recent record closing highs.

The Dow rose 70.57 points or 0.29 percent to 24,211.48, while the NASDAQ advanced 36.47 points or 0.54 percent to 6,812.84 and the S&P 500 climbed 7.71 points or 0.29 percent to 2,636.98.

The strength reflected optimism about lawmakers passing a short-term spending bill to avoid a government shutdown ahead of Friday's deadline. However, traders continued to express uncertainty about the details of the Republican tax reform bill.

In economic news, the Labor Department noted an unexpected decrease in first-time claims for jobless benefits in the week ended December 2. Also, the Federal Reserve said that consumer credit jumped by $20.5 billion in October, beating estimates.

Crude oil futures rebounded Thursday, as traders bet this week's decline was overdone. WTI light sweet crude oil was up 76 cents at $56.72 a barrel, having slipped from near $60 over the past few weeks.

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