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Hong Kong Bourse Draws Positive Lead

The Hong Kong stock market has moved higher in five straight sessions, soaring almost 1,460 points or 5.7 percent along the way. The Hang Seng Index now rests just above the 26,520-point plateau and it's expected to open higher again on Wednesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat on optimism over the outlook for rate hikes and continued support from crude oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were up and the Asian bourses are tipped to open in similar fashion.

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

For the day, the index added 59.11 points or 0.22 percent to finish at 26,521.43 after trading between 26,212.34 and 26,588.21.

Among the actives, CSPC Pharmaceutical surged 7.57 percent, while China Mengniu Dairy soared 2.27 percent, Power Assets Holdings plunged 2.07 percent, AAC Technologies plummeted 1.90 percent, Ping An Insurance spiked 1.47 percent, AIA Group jumped 1.37 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) climbed 1.33 percent, China Life Insurance advanced 1.16 percent, Sino Land tumbled 0.95 percent, CNOOC perked 0.79 percent, Galaxy Entertainment skidded 0.70 percent, Sands China gathered 0.57 percent, Tencent Holdings added 0.43 percent, Hong Kong & China Gas shed 0.36 percent, WH Group gained 0.31 percent, New World Development rose 0.18 percent, China Mobile fell 0.06 percent and Hang Lung Properties and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks shook off early weakness Thursday to finish higher for the fifth straight session.

The Dow added 122.80 points or 0.51 percent to 24,001.92, while the NASDAQ gained 28.99 points or 0.42 percent to 6,986.07 and the S&P rose 11.68 points or 0.45 percent to 2,596.64.

The initial weakness on Wall Street came as traders cashed in on recent strength after trade talks between the U.S. and China showed no significant breakthroughs. Selling pressure waned shortly thereafter as traders remain optimistic the U.S. and China will eventually reach a long-term trade deal.

On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department reported a bigger than expected drop in initial jobless claims in the week ended January 5.

Traders also followed remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who reiterated the Fed will be patient in raising interest rates further, noting the central bank is waiting and watching.

Crude oil futures ended higher on Thursday, extending gains to a ninth successive session on reports of declines in crude output from OPEC and other major producers. Crude oil futures ended $0.23 or 0.4 percent at $52.59 a barrel.

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