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Continued Consolidation Predicted For China Shares

The China stock market has moved lower in consecutive trading days, surrendering more than 30 points or 1 percent along the way. The Shanghai Composite Index now rests just beneath the 2,870-point plateau and it's looking at another red light for Friday's trade.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft, with profit taking expected following recent gains. The European and U.S. markets were down and the Asian bourses figure to open in similar fashion.

The SCI finished modestly lower on Thursday following losses from the property stocks, while the financial shares and oil companies were mixed.

For the day, the index lost 15.81 points or 0.55 percent to finish at 2,867.92 after trading between 2,864.21 and 2,891.52. The Shenzhen Composite Index sank 17.22 points or 1 percent to end at 1,788.64.

Among the actives, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China shed 0.39 percent, while Bank of China lost 0.58 percent, China Construction Bank collected 0.31 percent, China Merchants Bank rose 0.14 percent, China Life Insurance fell 0.37 percent, Ping An Insurance sank 0.78 percent, PetroChina added 0.45 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) slid 0.23 percent, China Shenhua Energy dropped 0.98 percent, Gemdale retreated 0.79 percent, Poly Developments tumbled 1.44 percent and China Vanke was down 0.12 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is soft as stocks showed a lack of direction on Thursday before finally slipping firmly into negative territory.

The Dow shed 101.78 points or 0.41 percent to finish at 24,474.12, while the NASDAQ sank 90.90 points or 0.97 percent to 9.284.88 and the S&P 55 fell 23.10 points or 0.78 percent to end at 2,948.51.

The weakness on Wall Street was partly due to profit taking, as some traders cashed in on the strong gains posted on Monday and Wednesday.

Traders were also reacting to a Labor Department report showing initial jobless claims pulled back further off their record high but remain at an elevated level.

Also, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing another steep drop in U.S. existing home sales in April.

Crude oil prices moved up Thursday, extending recent gains amid continued optimism about a pickup in energy demand and falling supply levels in the market. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures rose $0.43 or 1.3 percent at $33.92 a barrel.

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