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Hong Kong Shares Draw Another Firm Lead

The Hong Kong stock market has climbed higher in seven straight sessions, surging almost 1,350 points or 4.4 percent along the way. The Hang Seng Index now rests just above the 30,560-point plateau and it's called higher again on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is firm thanks to economic optimism and a surge in crude oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were higher and the Asian markets figure to follow suit.

The Hang Seng finished modestly higher on Wednesday following mixed performances from the financials and oil companies.

For the day, the index gained 45.64 points or 0.15 percent to end at 30,560.95 after trading between 30,456.76 and 30,724.32.

Among the actives, WH Group surged 2.22 percent, while China Mengniu Dairy soared 1.74 percent, Ping An Insurance plummeted 1.41 percent, China Mobile tumbled 1.33 percent, Tencent Holdings jumped 1.05 percent, CNOOC climbed 0.87 percent, Sands China advanced 0.63 percent, Hong Kong & China Gas added 0.52 percent, BOC Hong Kong shed 0.50 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China collected 0.31 percent, Lenovo Group gained 0.23 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) lost 0.17 percent and China Life and New World Development were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks moved mostly higher on Wednesday, adding to gains from the previous session as the major averages hit fresh record closing highs.

The Dow rose 98.67 points or 0.40 percent to 24,922.68, while the NASDAQ advanced 58.63 points or 0.84 percent to 7,065.53 and the S&P climbed 17.25 points or 0.64 percent to 2,713.06.

The continued strength on Wall Street came as upbeat data added to recent optimism about the economic outlook.

The Institute for Supply Management said growth in manufacturing activity unexpectedly accelerated in December, while the Commerce Department noted a bigger than expected increase in construction spending in November.

Stocks remained positive following the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting - which showed that most participants reiterated their support for continuing a gradual approach to raising interest rates.

Meanwhile, the Fed said it raised its economic projections due to the massive tax reform bill passed by Republicans and signed by President Donald Trump.

Crude oil futures continued to soar Wednesday thanks to the threat of supply disruptions from the Middle East and a weaker dollar. WTI light sweet crude oil was up $1.26 or 2.1 percent to $61.63/bbl, the highest since December 2014.

by RTT Staff Writer

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