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Mild Upside Seen For Hong Kong Stock Market

The Hong Kong stock market has moved higher in two straight sessions, advancing more than 300 points or 1.1 percent along the way. The Hang Seng Index now rests just above the 28,430-point plateau and it may open slightly higher again 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 Hang Seng finished modestly higher on Thursday following gains from the financials, properties and oil and insurance companies.

For the day, the index collected 227.11 points or 0.81 percent to finish at 28,431.80 after trading between 28,347.86 and 28,582.69.

Among the actives, CNOOC surged 2.44 percent, while WH Group soared 2.09 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) spiked 1.76 percent, China Life Insurance jumped 1.74 percent, New World Development gathered 1.64 percent, CSPC Pharmaceutical perked 1.57 percent, AIA Group climbed 1.26 percent, Hong Kong & China Gas advanced 0.91 percent, Sands China added 0.76 percent, Ping An Insurance gained 0.70 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China collected 0.36 percent, Galaxy Entertainment fell 0.27 percent and China Mobile rose 0.07 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.

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