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Higher Open Expected For China Stock Market

The China stock market picked up less than two points on Friday - but that was enough to halt the three-day slide in which it had retreated more than 40 points or 1.3 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index now rests just above the 3,075-point plateau and it may tick higher again on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is positive thanks to solid economic data from the world's largest economies. The European and U.S. markets were up on Friday and the Asian bourses are expected to follow that lead.

The SCI finished slightly higher on Friday following gains from the energy producers and mixed performances from the financial shares and property stocks.

For the day, the index added 1.42 points or 0.05 percent to finish at 3,075.50 after trading between 3,067.25 and 3,091.95. The Shenzhen Composite Index sank 5.29 points or 0.29 percent to end at 1,806.28.

Among the actives, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China collected 0.34 percent, while China Construction Bank eased 0.14 percent, China Merchants Bank dipped 0.08 percent, China Life Insurance plunged 2.56 percent, Ping An Insurance advanced 0.82 percent, PetroChina rose 0.17 percent, China Shenhua Energy gained 0.56 percent, Gemdale sank 0.35 percent, Poly Developments rose 0.56 percent, China Vanke fell 0.23 percent and Bank of China and China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks fluctuated Friday but still inched higher, sending the major averages to fresh record closing highs.

The Dow added 50.46 points or 0.17 percent to 29,348, while the NASDAQ gained 31.81 points or 0.34 percent to 9,388.94 and the S&P 500 rose 12.81 points or 0.39 percent to 3,329.62. For the week, the Sow added1.8 percent, the NASDAQ gained 2.3 percent and the S&P rose 2 percent.

The continued strength on Wall Street was widely attributed to Chinese GDP data even though the latest report showed China's economy grew at the slowest pace since 1990. But the GDP growth matched estimates, which suggested the impact of the U.S.-China trade war wasn't worse than feared.

In U.S. economic news, the Commerce Department noted a substantial increase in U.S. housing starts in December. Also, the Federal Reserve observed a modest pullback in U.S. industrial production last month.

Crude oil futures failed to hold early gains and settled near the flat line Friday as traders weighed demand and supply position in the market. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures ended at $58.54 a barrel, gaining 2 cents for the session after peaking earlier at $58.98 a barrel. For the week, crude oil futures shed about 0.8 percent.

Closer to home, China will announce January numbers for loan prime rates later today. The one-year loan prime rate is called at 4.1 percent, down from 4.2 percent in December. The five-year loan prime rate is expected to be unchanged at 4.8 percent.

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