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China Shares May Take Further Damage On Friday

The China stock market has finished lower in back-to-back sessions, surrendering more than 60 points or 2.4 percent along the way. The Shanghai Composite Index now rests just above the 2,600-point plateau and it may extend its losses on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed, with bargain hunting and interest rate optimism offset by tumbling crude oil prices and trade concerns, The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses ended mixed - and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.

The SCI finished sharply lower on Thursday following losses from the financial shares, properties and oil and insurance stocks.

For the day, the index dropped 44.62 points or 1.68 percent to finish at 2,605.18 after trading between 2,603.13 and 2,633.68. The Shenzhen Composite Index tumbled 30.03 points or 2.17 percent to end at 1,350.75.

Among the actives, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China shed 0.93 percent, while China Merchants Bank dropped 1.60 percent, Bank of China lost 0.82 percent, China Construction Bank skidded 1.34 percent, China Life Insurance tumbled 1.91 percent, Ping An Insurance retreated 1.95 percent, PetroChina slid 0.91 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical contracted 1.68 percent, China Shenhua Energy plunged 2.76 percent, Gemdale lost 1.36 percent, China Vanke fell 0.79 percent and Poly Developments eased 0.39 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is mixed as stocks shrugged off a sharply lower open on Thursday, rebounding to finish mixed.

The Dow shed 79.40 points or 0.32 percent to 24,947.67. while the NASDAQ added 29.83 points or 0.42 percent to 7,188.26 and the S&P 500 fell 4.11 points or 0.15 percent to 2,695.95.

The rebound was partly attributed to reports that Federal Reserve officials are considering a "wait-and-see mentality" after a likely interest rate hike later this month. Traders also went bargain hunting following the early sell-off.

In economic news, payroll processor ADP said private sector employment increased less than expected in November. Also, the Labor Department said first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell less than expected in the week ended December 1.

The Commerce Department reported that the U.S. trade deficit widened to its highest level in ten years in October. Also, the Institute for Supply Management noted acceleration in the pace of growth in service sector activity in November.

Crude oil prices drifted lower Thursday as OPEC postponed a decision about output reduction to later today. Crude oil futures for January ended down $1.40 or 2.7 percent at $51.49 a barrel, after declining to a low of $50.11 a barrel.

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