Plus   Neg

Hong Kong Stock Market Poised To Open In The Red

The Hong Kong stock market has finished higher in two of three trading days since the end of the two-day slide in which it had plummeted more than 1,150 points or 3.4 percent. The Hang Seng Index now rests just above the 30,650-point plateau although it's expected to open lower again on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is negative after U.S. Donald Trump officially imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports - while tumbling crude oil prices add to the soft sentiment. The European and U.S. markets were up, but the Asian markets are expected to head lower.

The Hang Seng finished sharply higher on Thursday with broadly based support - particularly from the casinos, oil and insurance companies, and properties.

For the day, the index surged 457.60 points or 1.52 percent to finish at 30,654.52 after trading between 30,428.61 and 30,724.03.

Among the actives, China Resources Power Holdings surged 5.91 percent, while Sands China soared 5.65 percent, Galaxy Entertainment spiked 3.66 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) jumped 3.56 percent, AIA Group advanced 3.03 percent, Ping An Insurance climbed 2.75 percent, Tencent Holdings perked 2.03 percent, China Mengniu Dairy gathered 1.99 percent, China Mobile picked up 1.77 percent, WH Group added 1.41 percent, New World Development gained 1.37 percent, Lenovo Group climbed 1.24 percent, CNOOC was up 0.36 percent, China Life collected 0.88 percent and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China added 0.15 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is firm as stocks fluctuated on Thursday, bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before closing in positive territory.

The Dow added 93.85 points or 0.38 percent to 24,895.21, while the NASDAQ gained 31.30 points or 0.42 percent and the S&P 500 was up 12.17 points or 0.45 percent to 2,738.97.

The higher close came after Trump officially signed proclamations imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The choppy trading also came as traders looked ahead to the release of the Labor Department's closely watched monthly jobs report later today - which may have a bearing on the FOMC's interest rate forecast.

Ahead of the monthly report, the Labor Department reported a bigger than expected rebound in initial jobless claims in the week ended March 3.

Traders also digested the European Central Bank's latest monetary policy decision, with the ECB leaving rates unchanged, as expected. The ECB's accompanying statement removed a phrase indicating a willingness to increase its asset purchase program if necessary.

Crude oil futures tumbled Thursday on fears that the U.S. dollar will strengthen on rising interest rates. April WTI oil was down $1.03 or 1.7 percent to settle at $60.12/bbl, the lowest in three weeks.

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