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China Stock Market Waiting On Data

Ahead of Friday's holiday for the Mid-Autumn Festival, the China stock market had halted the two-day slide in which it had fallen more than 15 points or 0.5 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index now rests just above the 3,030-point plateau and it's looking at a narrow trading range on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed and flat amid a lack of catalysts, although sliding crude oil prices may weigh. The European markets were slightly higher and the U.S. markets were mostly lower - and the Asian markets are tipped to follow the latter lead.

The SCI finished modestly higher on Thursday as gains from the properties and financials were capped by weakness from the oil companies.

For the day, the index gained 22.43 points or 0.75 percent to finish at 3,031.24 after trading between 3,005.19 and 3,033.47. The Shenzhen Composite Index perked 9.69 points or 0.58 percent to end at 1,681.23.

Among the actives, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China collected 0.36 percent, while China Merchants Bank added 0.68 percent, China Life Insurance jumped 1.78 percent, Ping An Insurance spiked 3.10 percent, PetroChina shed 0.63 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) dropped 0.95 percent, China Shenhua Energy rose 0.41 percent, Gemdale surged 4.43 percent, Poly Developments soared 4.95 percent, China Vanke accelerated 3.23 percent, CITIC Securities climbed 1.31 percent and Bank of China and China Construction Bank were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks showed a lack of direction on Friday, bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before closing mixed.

The Dow added 37.07 points or 0.14 percent to 27,219.52, while the NASDAQ fell 17.75 points or 0.22 percent and the S&P 500 lost 2.18 points or 0.07 percent to 3,007.39. For the week, the Dow gained 1.6 percent, the NASDAQ rose 0.9 percent and the S&P was up 1 percent.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as the major averages encountered some resistance as they climbed back within striking distance of the record highs set in July.

Signs of easing trade tensions between the U.S. and China and upbeat economic data generated some positive sentiment, but traders seemed wary amid lingering uncertainty.

In economic news, the Commerce Department said U.S. retail sales rose more than expected in August, while the University of Michigan noted that U.S. consumer sentiment rebounded more than expected in September.

Crude oil prices edged lower on Friday, extending losses to a fourth straight session as traders feared a likely drop in energy demand and excess supply in the market. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for October ended down $0.24 or 0.4 percent at $54.85 a barrel.

Closer to home, China is scheduled to release a raft of data later today, including August figures for industrial production, retail sales, fixed asset investment, unemployment and property investment.

Industrial production is tipped to rise 5.2 percent on year, up from 4.8 percent in July. Retail sales are called higher by an annual 8.0 percent, up from 7.6 percent in the previous month. FAI is called steady at 5.7 percent.

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