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Hang Seng Index: 29,000 Points Within Reach

The Hong Kong stock market on Thursday snapped the two-day slide in which it had stumbled more than 175 points or 0.6 percent. The Hang Seng Index now rests just above the 28,880-point plateau and it may extend its gains on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat on solid economic data and continued momentum from the U.S./China trade deal. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourses were firmly higher and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The Hang Seng finished modestly higher on Thursday following gains from the properties and oil companies.

For the day, the index gained 109.45 points or 0.38 percent to finish at 28,883.04 after trading between 28,709.57 and 28,987.73.

Among the actives, China Resources Land surged 3.14 percent, while Wharf Real Estate soared 2.98 percent, Techtronic Industries spiked 2.65 percent, CSPC Pharmaceutical accelerated 2.27 percent, AAC Technologies plummeted 1.91 percent, CNOOC jumped 1.66 percent, China Mengniu Dairy climbed 0.93 percent, China Life Insurance skidded 0.89 percent, Sino Land gathered 0.87 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China dropped 0.85 percent, AIA Group advanced 0.81 percent, CITIC perked 0.79 percent, Hong Kong & China Gas added 0.77 percent, New World Development gained 0.73 percent, WH Group rose 0.71 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) increased 0.43 percent, China Mobile and Tencent Holdings were up 0.30 percent, Pin An Insurance rose 0.26 percent and Henderson Land was unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is strong as stocks moved sharply higher on Thursday, extending recent gains as the major averages hit fresh record closing highs.

The Dow jumped 262.42 points or 0.92 percent to 29,297.64, while the NASDAQ added 98.44 points or 1.06 percent to 9.357.13 and the S&P 500 rose 27.52 points or 0.84 percent to 3,316.81.

The markets continued to benefit from upward momentum following the official signing of the U.S.-China phase one trade deal on Wednesday.

A batch of largely upbeat U.S. economic data also contributed to the buying interest as the Labor Department noted an unexpected decrease in initial jobless claims last week. The Commerce Department also said U.S. retail sales rose in line with estimates last month.

Also, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve reported substantial acceleration in the pace of growth in regional manufacturing activity in January, while the National Association of Home Builders saw a pullback in homebuilder confidence in January.

Crude oil futures settled higher on Thursday, rebounding from losses in the previous session thanks to a drop in U.S. crude inventories. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for February ended up $0.71 or 1.2 percent at $58.52 a barrel.

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