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Renewed Support Tipped For China Stock Market

The China stock market has finished lower in two of three trading days since the end of the two-day winning streak in which it had advanced almost 70 points or 2.8 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index now rests just above the 2,535-point plateau although it's expected to bounce higher again on Friday.

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 SCI finished modestly lower on Thursday following losses from the financial and properties, while the oil and insurance companies were mixed.

For the day, the index dipped 9.24 points or 0.36 percent to finish at 2,535.10 after trading between 2,531.66 and 2,551.83. The Shenzhen Composite Index fell 3.47 points or 0.27 percent to end at 1,303.48.

Among the actives, China Merchants Bank collected 0.58 percent, while Industrial and Commercial Bank of China shed 0.76 percent, Bank of China lost 0.85 percent, China Construction Bank skidded 1.09 percent, China Life Insurance eased 0.15 percent, Ping An Insurance climbed 0.97 percent, PetroChina added 0.27 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) dropped 0.93 percent, Gemdale retreated 1.39 percent, Poly Developments plunged 1.15 percent, China Vanke slid 0.87 percent and CITIC Securities surged 4.93 percent.

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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