Plus   Neg

Hong Kong Shares May Test Resistance At 29,000 Points

The Hong Kong stock market on Wednesday snapped the two-day winning streak in which it had advanced almost 700 points or 2.5 percent. The Hang Seng Index now rests just above the 28,800-point plateau although it may find traction again on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests mild upside on sound economic data and a spike in 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 lower on Wednesday as losses from the financials, properties, casinos and oil stocks were mitigated by support from the insurance companies.

For the day, the index fell 113.42 points or 0.39 percent to finish at 28,807.45 after trading between 28,690.37 and 28,924.28.

Among the actives, Hengan International plummeted 4.53 percent, while AAC Technology plunged 2.50 percent, CSPC Pharmaceutical tumbled 2.35 percent, WH Group skidded 1.81 percent, Ping An Insurance jumped 1.57 percent, CITIC sank 1.18 percent, BOC Hong Kong retreated 0.92 percent, China Mengniu Dairy and China Resources Land both declined 0.81 percent, Sands China contracted 0.79 percent, CNOOC dropped 0.75 percent, Tencent Holdings shed 0.72 percent, AIA Group advanced 0.70 percent, Galaxy Entertainment and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China both lost 0.67 percent, China Mobile fell 0.24 percent, China Life Insurance collected 0.23 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) slid 0.15 percent, Hong Kong & China Gas and Hang Lung Properties both added 0.11 percent and China Resources Power Holdings and New World Development were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks opened higher on Wednesday. The major averages gave ground as the day progressed but still finished firmly in the green.

The Dow added 148.23 points or 0.58 percent to 25,702.89, while the NASDAQ gained 52.37 points or 0.69 percent to 7,643.41 and the S&P 500 rose 19.40 points or 0.69 percent to 2,810.92.

The strength on Wall Street reflected a positive reaction to a Commerce Department report showing an unexpected increase in durable goods orders in January. Also, the Labor Department noted a modest increase in producer prices in February.

Oil prices rallied sharply on Wednesday after data showed U.S. crude inventories dropped last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended up $1.39 or 2.4 percent at $58.26 a barrel, the highest settlement in four months.

Closer to home, Hong Kong will provide Q4 data for industrial production later today; in the three months prior, industrial production added 1.2 percent on quarter and 0.1 percent on year.

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