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Hong Kong Stock Market Overdue For Support

The Hong Kong stock market has finished lower in four straight sessions, tumbling almost 900 points or 3.2 percent along the way. The Hang Seng Index now rests just beneath the 26,470-point plateau although it may find traction on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is flat with a touch of upside on concerns over the outlook for interest rates. The European markets were slightly higher and the U.S. bourses were mixed and little changed and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The Hang Seng finished sharply lower on Thursday following losses from the financials, properties, casinos and oil and insurance companies.

For the day, the index sank 285.17 points or 1.07 percent to finish at 26,468.95 after trading between 26,372.09 and 26,820.73.

Among the actives, AAC Technologies surged 5.86 percent, while AIA Group plummeted 3.04 percent, Hang Seng Bank plunged 2.44 percent, Techtronic Industries tumbled 2.07 percent, BOC Hong Kong skidded 1.64 percent, Sands China retreated 1.59 percent, China Mobile declined 1.37 percent, Tencent Holding dropped 1.34 percent, CSPC Pharmaceutical jumped 1.18 percent, Ping An Insurance sank 1.12 percent, Galaxy Entertainment shed 0.96 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China lost 0.95 percent, China Life Insurance fell 0.84 percent, China Mengniu Dairy slid 0.83 percent, CNOOC and CITIC both dipped 0.79 percent, Hong Kong & China Gas was down 0.77 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) dropped 0.42 percent, New World Development shed 0.20 percent and Henderson Land and WH Group were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street provides little clarity as stocks opened higher on Thursday before giving ground later in the day, ending mixed and roughly flat.

The Dow fell 52.29 points or 0.19 percent to 27,094, while the NASDAQ rose 5.49 points or 0.07 percent to 8,182.88 and the S&P 500 added 0.06 points to end at 3,000.79.

The lackluster close on Wall Street came amid continued uncertainty about the outlook for interest rates following the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement on Wednesday.

The Fed lowered interest rates by 25 basis points as expected but indicated officials are mixed about whether the central bank should cut rates again before the end of the year.

In economic news, the Labor Department noted a modest rebound in initial jobless claims last week, while the Philadelphia Federal Reserve saw a modest slowdown in the pace of growth in regional manufacturing activity in September.

Crude oil futures settled just marginally up on Thursday, despite moving up sharply early on in the session on continued geopolitical concerns. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for October ended up by 2 cents at $58.13 a barrel.

Closer to home, Hong Kong will see August figures for consumer prices later today; in July, inflation was up 3.3 percent on year.

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