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Lower Open Expected For China Stock Market

The China stock market bounced higher again on Thursday, one session after it had ended the two-day winning streak in which it had collected more than 35 points or 1.1 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index now rests just beneath the 3,290-point plateau although it's looking at a soft start on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is negative after U.S. Donald Trump officially imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports - while tumbling crude oil prices add to the soft sentiment. The European and U.S. markets were up, but the Asian markets are expected to head lower.

The SCI finished modestly higher on Thursday as gains from the properties, oil and insurance stocks were tempered by weakness from the financial sector.

For the day, the index picked up 16.74 points or 0.51 percent to finish at 3,288.41 after trading between 3,261.55 and 3,289.50. The Shenzhen Composite Index jumped 18.60 points or 1.01 percent to end at 1,856.47.

Among the actives, Bank of China shed 0.47 percent, while Industrial and Commercial Bank of China dropped 1.21 percent, Agricultural Bank of China lost 0.74 percent, China Construction Bank slid 0.97 percent, China Life and Bank of Communications both collected 0.15 percent, Ping An Insurance soared 2.56 percent, China Vanke spiked 2.25 percent, Gemdale and China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) both added 0.16 percent and PetroChina gained 0.12 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is firm as stocks fluctuated on Thursday, bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before closing in positive territory.

The Dow added 93.85 points or 0.38 percent to 24,895.21, while the NASDAQ gained 31.30 points or 0.42 percent and the S&P 500 was up 12.17 points or 0.45 percent to 2,738.97.

The higher close came after Trump officially signed proclamations imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The choppy trading also came as traders looked ahead to the release of the Labor Department's closely watched monthly jobs report later today - which may have a bearing on the FOMC's interest rate forecast.

Ahead of the monthly report, the Labor Department reported a bigger than expected rebound in initial jobless claims in the week ended March 3.

Traders also digested the European Central Bank's latest monetary policy decision, with the ECB leaving rates unchanged, as expected. The ECB's accompanying statement removed a phrase indicating a willingness to increase its asset purchase program if necessary.

Crude oil futures tumbled Thursday on fears that the U.S. dollar will strengthen on rising interest rates. April WTI oil was down $1.03 or 1.7 percent to settle at $60.12/bbl, the lowest in three weeks.

Closer to home, China will release February numbers for consumer and producer prices later today. CPI is expected to rise 3.8 percent on year, slowing from 4.3 percent in January. PPI is called at 2.4 percent, up from 1.5 percent a month earlier.

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