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Hong Kong Stock Market Inherits Positive Lead

The Hong Kong stock market has climbed higher in two of three trading days since the end of the two-day losing streak in which it had stumbled almost 320 points or 1.2 percent. The Hang Seng Index now rests just above the 28,560-point plateau and it's expected to open higher again on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat on easing geopolitical concerns in the Middle East. The European and U.S. markets finished higher and the Asian bourses are tipped to open in similar fashion.

The Hang Seng finished sharply higher on Thursday with gains across the board - especially from the financials, properties and insurance stocks.

For the day, the index surged 473.08 points or 1.68 percent to finish at the daily high of 28,561.00 after moving as low as 28,325.86.

Among the actives, Hengan International skyrocketed 8.00 percent, while WH Group surged 5.15 percent, AAC Technologies soared 4.40 percent, China Life insurance spiked 3.69 percent, China Mengniu Dairy accelerated 2.84 percent, New World Development gathered 2.29 percent, BOC Hong Kong perked 2.23 percent, AIA Group advanced 2.15 percent, Tencent Holdings added 2.09 percent, CITIC gained 2.04 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China collected 1.71 percent, Techtronic Industries rose 1.68 percent, China Mobile and CSPC Pharmaceutical both increased 1.57 percent, Galaxy Entertainment was up 1.52 percent, Ping An Insurance jumped 1.14 percent, Hong Kong & China Gas climbed 0.66 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) perked 0.63 percent, CNOOC added 0.29 percent, Power Assets rose 0.26 percent and Sands China eased 0.12 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks saw continued upside on Thursday, propelling the major averages to fresh record closing highs.

The Dow added 212.08 points or 0.74 percent to 28,957.17, while the NASDAQ gained 74.18 points or 0.81 percent to 9,203.43 and the S&P 500 rose 21.65 points or 0.67 percent to 3,274.70.

Easing concerns about the conflict between the U.S. and Iran contributed to the continued strength on Wall Street amid signs of de-escalation.

Nonetheless, overall trading activity was subdued ahead of the release of the Labor Department's monthly jobs report later today.

Crude oil futures settled near four-week lows on Thursday as higher U.S. crude inventories and easing worries about U.S.-Iran standoff pushed prices down for a second straight session. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February ended down $0.05 or 0.03 percent at $59.56 a barrel, off the session's low of $58.66 a barrel.

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