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China Shares Overdue For Correction

The China stock market put on less than 2 points on Wednesday - but that was enough to extend its winning streak to eight sessions, gathering more than 145 points or 6.2 percent in that span. The Shanghai Composite Index closed just below the 2,435-point plateau, and now traders may be tempted to lock in gains when the market opens on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed and flat, with a hint of weakness thanks largely to catalysts in Europe. The European Central Bank and the Bank of England both have rate decisions coming later today, although no moves are expected. Apprehension ahead of the upcoming Italian elections also may weigh. The European and U.S. markets were mixed but little changed, and the Asian bourses are expected to follow suit.

The SCI finished flat on Wednesday as gains from the financials were offset by weakness from the property stocks and the coal miners.

For the day, the index added 1.35 points or 0.06 percent to finish at 2,434.48 after trading between 2,427.70 and 2,441.73. The Shenzhen Composite Index gained 0.48 percent to end at 951.52.

Among the actives, Citic Securities climbed 3.0 percent, Haitong Securities jumped 3.5 percent and GF Securities spiked 5.3 percent, while China Vanke shed 1.4 percent, Gree Real Estate lost 2.3 percent, Poly Real Estate fell 2.1 percent and Yanzhou Coal Mining dipped 1.2 percent.

The lead from Wall Street provides little guidance as stocks were lackluster on Wednesday before closing roughly flat. Following big swings back and forth in the two previous sessions, traders seemed reluctant to make any significant moves.

Uncertainty about the financial situation in Europe helped to keep traders on the sidelines ahead of Thursday's monetary policy announcement from the European Central Bank. Along with the monetary policy meeting, the leaders of the European Union member states are due to hold a two-day meeting in Brussels beginning on Thursday.

Amid a lack of major U.S. economic data, traders also kept a close eye on the latest batch of earnings news. Shares of C.H. Robinson Worldwide (CHRW) moved sharply lower after the freight and shipping company reported fourth quarter earnings that missed estimates.

Insurance company Aflac (AFL) also posted a notable loss after reporting fourth quarter adjusted earnings that matched expectations but on weaker than expected revenues.

Meanwhile, shares of Zynga (ZNGA) moved sharply higher after the social gaming company reported an unexpected fourth quarter profit. The company also provided upbeat revenue guidance.

Disney (DIS) also moved to the upside after reporting first quarter earnings that fell year-over-year but came in above analyst estimates. The entertainment giant also reported better than expected revenue growth.

The major U.S. averages were mixed but little changed on Wednesday as the NASDAQ shed 3.10 points or 0.1 percent to finish at 3,168.48, while the Dow inched up 7.22 points or 0.1 percent to close at 13,986.52 and the S&P 500 crept up 0.83 points or 0.1 percent to end at 1,512.12.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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