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Hong Kong Shares May Head South Again On Thursday

The Hong Kong stock market on Wednesday wrote a finish to the two-day slide in which it had plummeted more than 740 points or 3 percent. The Hang Seng Index now rests just above the 23,740-point plateau although it's expected to see renewed selling pressure on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft with technology stocks expected to continue their roller coaster ride, this time to the downside. A rising number of coronavirus cases adds to the negative sentiment. 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 slightly higher on Wednesday as gains from the casinos were limited by weakness from the financials and oil and insurance companies.

For the day, the index rose 25.66 points or 0.11 percent to finish at 23,742.51 after trading between 23,559.99 and 23,795.19.

Among the actives, Techtronic Industries surged 2.14 percent, while Xiaomi soared 1.96 percent, WuXi Biologics spiked 1.92 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) plummeted 1.86 percent, CNOOC plunged 1.52 percent, CITIC tanked 1.50 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China tumbled 1.20 percent, China Mobile skidded 1.17 percent, China Life Insurance retreated 1.11 percent, WH Group declined 1.09 percent, CSPC Pharmaceutical jumped 0.91 percent, China Mengniu Dairy climbed 0.85 percent, Alibaba gathered 0.83 percent, Hong Kong & China Gas perked 0.72 percent, BOC Hong Kong sank 0.71 percent, AIA Group advanced 0.65 percent, Ping An Insurance dropped 0.61 percent, Power Assets added 0.60 percent, Sands China gained 0.49 percent, New World Development rose 0.40 percent, Sun Hung Kai Properties fell 0.36 percent, Galaxy Entertainment increased 0.28 percent, AAC Technologies was up 0.11 percent and CK Infrastructure was unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is broadly negative as stocks moved sharply lower on Wednesday, wiping out gains from the previous session as the markets fell to a one-month closing low.

The Dow tumbled 525.05 points or 1.92 percent to finish at 26,763.13, while the NASDAQ plummeted 330.65 points or 3.02 percent to end at 10,632.99 and the S&P 500 dropped 78.65 points or 2.37 percent to close at 3,236.92.

The sell-off on Wall Street came amid renewed weakness among technology stocks, as reflected by the particularly steep drop by the tech-heavy NASDAQ. Big-name tech companies like Netflix (NFLX), Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN) and Alphabet (GOOGL) all showed significant moves to the downside.

Concerns about surging coronavirus cases in certain parts of the world may also have weighed on the markets even as President Donald Trump indicated the U.S. would not follow the U.K.'s lead and implement a second round of lockdowns.

Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, continuing to testify before Congress for the second day, said the U.S. Congress and the Federal Reserve both need to "stay with it" in working to bolster the economic recovery.

Crude oil futures settled higher Wednesday after data showed a drop in U.S. crude inventories last week. But the upside was capped by worries about the energy demand outlook amid a continued surge in coronavirus cases. West Texas Intermediate Crude futures for November ended higher by $0.13 or 0.3 percent at $39.93 a barrel.

Closer to home, Hong Kong will release August figures for imports, exports and trade balance later today. In July, imports were down 3.4 percent on year and exports fell 3.0 percent for a trade deficit of HKD29.8 billion.

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