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China Stock Market May Extend Its Gains

The China stock market on Thursday snapped the three-day slide in which it had fallen more than 90 points or 3 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index remains just above the 2,915-point plateau and it may add to its winnings on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is murky, with any upside limited by sliding crude oil prices. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were mixed and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The SCI finished slightly higher on Thursday following gains from the financials, properties and oil and insurance companies.

For the day, the index picked up 2.46 points or 0.08 percent to finish at 2,917.76 after trading between 2,907.89 and 2,945.80. The Shenzhen Composite Index eased 1.94 points or 0.13 percent to end at 1,548.93.

Among the actives, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China added 0.36 percent, while Bank of China collected 0.27 percent, China Merchants Bank spiked 2.22 percent, China Construction Bank rose 0.72 percent, China Life Insurance soared 3.29 percent, Ping An Insurance was up 0.11 percent, PetroChina gained 0.15 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) perked 0.38 percent, China Shenhua Energy fell 0.21 percent, Gemdale gathered 0.88 percent, Poly Developments rose 0.07 percent, China Vanke added 0.14 percent and CITIC Securities dipped 0.09 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is inconclusive as stocks fluctuated Thursday before ending mixed, with the Dow and the S&P 500 reached new record closing highs.

The Dow added 227.88 points or 0.85 percent to 27,088.08, while the NASDAQ fell 6.49 points or 0.08 percent to 8,196.04 and the S&P 500 rose 6.84 points or 0.23 percent to 2,999.91.

The advance by the Dow was fueled by health insurers on news that President Donald Trump is abandoning a plan to eliminate rebates from government drug plans. The proposal faced stiff resistance from pharmacy-benefit managers, and pharmaceutical stocks tumbled on the news

In economic news, the Labor Department reported an unexpected uptick in U.S. consumer prices in June. The Labor Department also said first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell in the week ended July 6.

Crude oil futures turned weak after a solid start on Thursday, weighed down by a downward revision in demand forecast by OPEC. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for August ended down $0.23 or 0.4 percent at $60.20 a barrel.

Closer to home, China will on Friday release June figures for imports, exports and trade balance. Imports are expected to fall 4.6 percent on year after tumbling 8.5 percent in May. Exports are called lower by an annual 0.6 percent after rising 1.1 percent in the previous month. The trade surplus is pegged at $45.25 billion, up from $41.65 billion a month earlier.

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