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Lower Open Anticipated For Hong Kong Shares

The Hong Kong stock market has finished higher in four straight sessions, rising more than 1,370 points or 5.9 percent along the way. The Hang Seng Index now sits just above the 24,365-point plateau although it's due for consolidation on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft, with profit taking likely after recent strength. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were mixed and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The Hang Seng finished slightly higher on Thursday following gains from the casinos and financials, while the properties and oil and insurance companies were mixed.

For the day, the index gained 40.68 points or 0.17 percent to finish at 24,366.30 after trading between 24,204.10 and 24,643.84.

Among the actives, Sands China surged 4.87 percent, while WH Group soared 2.56 percent, Galaxy Entertainment spiked 2.38 percent, China Mengniu Dairy accelerated 1.52 percent, AAC Technologies plummeted 1.07 percent, Techtronic Industries plunged 0.90 percent, Hong Kong & China Gas tanked 0.89 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) tumbled 0.84 percent, China Mobile skidded 0.82 percent, China Life Insurance retreated 0.78 percent, Sino Land jumped 0.73 percent, Ping An Insurance climbed 0.69 percent, BOC Hong Kong advanced 0.64 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China collected 0.58 percent, Power Assets declined 0.57 percent, Tencent Holdings and CNOOC both added 0.55 percent, China Resources Land and Sun Hung Kai Properties both sank 0.31 percent, CSPC Pharmaceutical shed 0.25 percent, AIA Group gained 0.21 percent and New World Development and Hang Lung Properties both fell 0.12 percent.

The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks turned in a lackluster performance on Thursday before eventually ending the day mixed.

The Dow added 11.93 points or 0.05 percent to finish at 26,281.82, while the NASDAQ shed 67.10 points or 0.69 percent to end at 9,615.81and the S&P 500 fell 10.52 points or 0.34 percent to close at 3,112.35.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders took a breath to digest the recent strength and lock in gains; they also seemed reluctant to make more significant moves ahead of the Labor Department's closely watched monthly jobs report later today.

In economic news, the Labor Department said the pace of decline in first-time claims for unemployment benefits has begun to stall a bit, although there was an unexpected increase in continuing claims.

Earlier in the day, some buying interest was generated in reaction to the European Central Bank announcing additional stimulus to deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Crude oil prices edged higher on Thursday after data showed that leading oil producers were in compliance with agreed production cuts. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for July ended up $0.12 or 0.3 percent at $37.41 a barrel.

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