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Hong Kong Stock Market Inherits Flat Lead

The Hong Kong stock market has climbed higher in five straight sessions, accelerating almost 1,050 points or 3.7 percent along the way. The Hang Seng Index remains just above the 27,680-point plateau and it's likely to hold steady in that range again on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is fairly rudderless amid a lack of catalysts as investors look for concrete details in a possible trade agreement between the United States and China. The European markets were slightly higher and the U.S. bourses were mixed and flat and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.

The Hang Seng finished barely higher on Wednesday following gains from the properties and insurance companies.

For the day, the index rose 5.24 points or 0.02 percent to finish at 27,688.64 after trading between 27,547.77 and 27,750.91.

Among the actives, China Mengniu Dairy plummeted 5.86 percent, while New World Development surged 1.22 percent, China Life Insurance soared 1.18 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) spiked 1.08 percent, WH Group plunged 0.91 percent, Galaxy Entertainment tumbled 0.81 percent, China Mobile and CK Infrastructure both skidded 0.70 percent, Sun Hung Kai Properties jumped 0.66 percent, Hong Kong & China Gas dropped 0.65 percent, CSPC Pharmaceutical and AIA Group both climbed 0.49 percent, China Resources Land accelerated 0.43 percent, CITIC and AAV Technologies both sank 0.38 percent, BOC Hong Kong advanced 0.36 percent, CNOOC shed 0.32 percent, Tencent Holdings added 0.30 percent, Power Assets lost 0.27 percent, Sands China and Henderson Land both gained 0.25 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China fell 0.17 percent and Ping An rose 0.11 percent.

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

The Dow eased 0.07 points to end at 27,492.56, while the NASDAQ fell 24.05 points or 0.29 percent to 8,410.63 and the S&P rose 2.16 points or 0.07 percent to 3,076.78.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders were reluctant to make significant moves amid uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets after the recent run to record highs.

Optimism about a potential U.S.-China trade deal contributed to the strength on Wall Street, but traders now seem to be looking for more concrete developments - limiting the upside.

In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department said labor productivity in the U.S. unexpectedly edged lower in the third quarter.

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Wednesday, snapping a three-day winning streak, after data showed a larger than expected increase in crude inventories last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended down $0.88 or 1.5 percent at $56.35 a barrel.

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