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China Stock Market May Extend Losing Streak

The China stock market has moved lower in two straight sessions, dropping nearly 70 points or 2.3 percent in that span. The Shanghai Composite Index now rests just above the 2,990-point plateau and it may see continued consolidation again on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is flat with a touch of weakness on global trade concerns. The European markets were slightly higher and the U.S. bourses were mixed and little changed and the Asian markets are expected to follow the latter lead.

The SCI finished sharply lower on Thursday following losses from the financials and properties, while the oil and insurance companies were mixed.

For the day, the index skidded 36.27 points or 1.20 percent to finish at 2,990.69 after trading between 2,968.82 and 3,041.16. The Shenzhen Composite Index tumbled 38.28 points or 2.31 percent to end at 1,618.26.

Among the actives, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China dipped 0.18 percent, while Bank of China slid 0.26 percent, China Merchants Bank climbed 1.32 percent, China Life Insurance skidded 1.25 percent, Ping An Insurance jumped 1.76 percent, PetroChina eased 0.26 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) added 0.68 percent, China Shenhua Energy shed 0.60 percent, Gemdale plunged 2.61 percent, China Vanke tumbled 1.26 percent, CITIC Securities plunged 2.30 percent and China Construction Bank, China Minsheng Bank and Poly Developments were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks showed a lack or direction on Thursday, bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before ending the session mixed.

The Dow added 7.05 points or 0.03 percent to 25,709, while the NASDAQ fell 12.50 points or 0.16 percent to 7,630.91 and the S&P 500 lost 2.44 points or 0.09 percent to 2,808.48.

The choppy trading on Wall Street followed uncertainty about Brexit, with members of parliament voting in favor of delaying Brexit after they rejected the idea of leaving the European Union without a deal.

Renewed concerns about a potential trade deal between the U.S. and China weighed on the markets after reports said a meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping has been pushed back.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department reported a substantial pullback in new home sales in January. A separate report from the Labor Department showed U.S. import and export prices both rose more than anticipated in February.

Crude oil prices edged higher Thursday, extending gains to a fourth successive session, on data that showed a drop in U.S. crude inventories last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended up $0.35 or 0.6 percent at $58.61 a barrel, a fresh high since mid-November.

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