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China Stock Market May Return Under Pressure

Ahead of the long break for the Lunar New Year, the China stock market had climbed higher in two straight sessions, rising almost 45 points or 1.8 percent along the way. Off since February 1, the Shanghai Composite Index now rests just beneath the 2,620-point plateau and it may extend its losses Monday as it catches up on negative sentiment.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed and flat, with trade concerns offset by bargain hunting. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were little changed and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.

The SCI finished sharply higher on February 1 following gains from the financials, properties and oil and insurance companies.

For the day, the index perked 33.66 points or 1.30 percent to finish at 2,618.23 after trading between 2,590.55 and 2,618.48. The Shenzhen Composite Index spiked 35.25 points or 2.77 percent to end at 1,309.99.

Among the actives, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China eased 0.18 percent, while China Construction Bank dipped 0.14 percent, China Merchants Bank collected 0.31 percent, China Life Insurance added 0.48 percent, Ping An Insurance rose 0.37 percent, PetroChina gained 0.41 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) was up 0.17 percent, China Shenhua Energy advanced 0.91 percent, Gemdale gathered 0.36 percent, Poly Developments eased 0.08 percent, China Vanke fell 0.25 percent and Bank of China was unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks fell under pressure early on Friday but recovered later in the day to end mixed and little changed.

The Dow shed 63.20 points or 0.25 percent to 25,106.33, while the NASDAQ added 9.85 points or 0.14 percent to 7,298.20 and the S&P 500 rose 1.83 points or 0.07 percent to 2,707.88. For the week, the Dow added 0.2 percent, and the NASDAQ and S&P both gained 0.1 percent.

The early weakness on Wall Street came amid lingering concerns about a potential trade deal between the U.S. and China. Adding to worries, reports suggested the U.S. and China don't even have a draft that specifies where they disagree.

Bargain hunting triggered the recovery later in the session as investors scooped up some of the oversold shares.

Crude oil prices settled slightly higher on Friday, despite concerns about possible drop in energy demand in the near term due to global economic slowdown. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for March ended up $0.08 or 0.2 percent at $52.72 a barrel.

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