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Renewed Consolidation Likely For Hong Kong Shares

The Hong Kong stock market on Friday snapped the two-day slide in which it had given up more than 550 points or 2.5 percent. The Hang Seng Index now rests just above the 22,800-point plateau although it figures to head south again on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests continued consolidation as the coronavirus continues to hammer away at world economies. The European markets were up and the U.S. bourses were down and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.

The Hang Seng finished with large gains on Friday, picking up stocks at reduced levels following heavy selling earlier in the week - particularly among the casinos and oil companies.

For the day, the index surged 1,095.97 points or 5.05 percent to finish at the daily high of 22,805.07 after moving as low as 22,147.34.

Among the actives, China Mobile skyrocketed 13.58 percent, while Galaxy Entertainment surged 11.92 percent, CNOOC soared 11.41 percent, Sands China spiked 9.75 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) accelerated 9.37 percent, China Life Insurance jumped 8.55 percent, Hong Kong & China Gas plummeted 8.50 percent, CSPC Pharmaceutical climbed 8.31 percent, AIA Group gathered 7.00 percent, CITIC perked 6.54 percent, WH Group advanced 5.51 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China collected 4.90 percent, Tencent Holdings added 4.84 percent, Ping An Insurance and Hang Lung Properties both gained 2.79 percent, BOC Hong Kong rose 2.13 percent, New World Development increased 2.05 percent, Power Assets sank 1.97 percent, China Mengniu Dairy was up 1.56 percent, Techtronic Industries lost 1.51 percent and Wharf Real Estate fell 0.49 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is negative as stocks shook off a higher open on Friday and sank into the red as the day progressed, offsetting gains from the previous session.

The Dow shed 913.21 points or 4.55 percent to finish at 19,173.98, while the NASDAQ sank 271.06 points or 3.79 percent to 6,879.52 and the S&P 500 lost 104.47 points or 4.34 percent to end at 2,304.92.

The early strength on Wall Street came on optimism that the relief and support packages announced by global central banks and several governments will help limit the impact of the virus outbreak.

But stocks turned lower in afternoon trade as the virus numbers and economic backlash continued to be worrisome.

Crude oil prices tanked on Friday despite several countries and central banks announcing relief packages to help limit the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended down $2.69 or 11 percent at $22.53 a barrel on expiration day.

Closer to home, Hong Kong will release Q4 numbers for current account. In the three months prior, the current account showed a surplus of HKD74.45 billion, while the capital account was a deficit of HKD115 million and the financial account showed a deficit of 103.64 billion.

Hong Kong also will see February figures for consumer prices; in January, inflation was up 1.4 percent on year.

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