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Hong Kong Shares Overdue For Profit Taking

The Hong Kong stock market has climbed higher in four straight trading days, advancing more than 1,370 points or 4.6 percent along the way. The Hang Seng Index now rests just beneath the 30,900-point plateau although it's expected to open under pressure on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft as geopolitical concerns may offer investors an excuse to lock in gains following recent strength. The European and U.S. markets were down, and the Asian markets are expected to follow suit.

The Hang Seng finished modestly higher on Wednesday, boosted by gains from the oil and insurance companies.

For the day, the index advanced 168.97 points or 0.55 percent to finish at 30,897.71 after trading between 30,723.07 and 31,021.12 on turnover of 132.97 billion Hong Kong dollars.

Among the actives, PetroChina spiked 3.75 percent, while CNOOC surged 4.16 percent, Kunlun Energy jumped 1.48 percent and AIA Group advanced 4.68 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is negative as stocks moved lower on Wednesday following the rally in the previous session.

The Dow slid 218.55 points or 0.90 percent to 24,189.45, while the NASDAQ lost 25.27 points or 0.36 percent to 7,069.03 and the S&P 500 fell 14.68 points or 0.55 percent to 2,642.19.

The weakness came amid geopolitical concerns after President Donald Trump warned Russia "get ready" for missiles being launched at Syria.

In economic news, the Labor Department noted a modest decrease in consumer prices in March. Core CPI inched higher, in line with forecasts.

Later in the day, the Federal Reserve released the minutes of its latest monetary policy meeting, which showed members of the central bank discussed the need to slow down the economy.

Crude oil prices continued to rally Wednesday, hitting three-year highs despite confirmation that U.S. stockpiles are brimming. Tensions in the Middle East have boosted oil prices this week. WTI light sweet oil surged $1.31 or 2 percent to settle at $66.82/bbl - the highest since 2014.

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