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Mild Upside Called For China Stock Market

The China stock market headed south again on Wednesday, one day after it ended the two-day slide in which it had fallen almost 45 points or 1.2 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index now rests just beneath the 3,600-point plateau although it may inch higher again on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is murky, with upside limited by political uncertainty and falling oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were mixed and little changed and the Asian bourses figure to follow that lead.

The SCI finished slightly lower on Wednesday following weakness from the insurance companies and mixed performances from the financials, properties and resources.

For the day, the index fell 9.69 points or 0.27 percent to finish at 3,598.65 after trading between 3,575.59 and 3,622.35. The Shenzhen Composite Index sank 26.23 points or 1.08 percent to end at 2,393.74.

Among the actives, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China advanced 0.80 percent, while Bank of China collected 0.63 percent, China Construction Bank climbed 1.39 percent, China Merchants Bank shed 0.60 percent, Bank of Communications rose 0.22 percent, China Life Insurance tumbled 1.81 percent, Jiangxi Copper plunged 3.43 percent, Aluminum Corp of China (Chalco) was up 0.27 percent, Yanzhou Coal improved 0.70 percent, PetroChina perked 1.16 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) jumped 1.69 percent, China Shenhua Energy soared 3.24 percent, Gemdale eased 0.16 percent, Poly Developments spiked 1.85 percent, China Vanke added 0.67 percent, Beijing Capital Development gained 0.52 percent and China Minsheng Bank was unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks bounced back and forth across the unchanged line on Wednesday, finally ending mixed.

The Dow eased 8.22 points or 0.03 percent to finish at 31,060.47, while the NASDAQ added 56.52 points or 0.43 percent to end at 13,128.95 and the S&P 500 rose 8.65 points or 0.23 percent to close at 3,809.84.

The higher close by the NASDAQ and the S&P came as treasuries rebounded following recent weakness, leading to a drop in bond yields and contributed to significant strength among interest rate sensitive stocks like utilities and properties.

Buying interest was subdued as political uncertainty kept some traders on the sidelines as House Democrats impeached President Donald Trump for a second time over allegations that he incited last week's violent attack on the U.S. Capitol building.

In economic news, the Labor Department said U.S. consumer prices increased in line with estimates last month. Also, the Federal Reserve released its Beige Book, which said economic activity has increased modestly.

Crude oil futures fell on Wednesday as concerns about the outlook for energy demand amid the continued rise in coronavirus cases and tighter restrictions on movements hurt oil prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February sank $0.30 or 0.6 percent at $52.91 a barrel.

Closer to home, China will provide December figures for imports, exports and trade balance later this morning. Imports are expected to rise 5.0 percent on year, up from 4.5 percent in November. Exports are called higher by an annual 15 percent, slowing from 21.1 percent in the previous month. The trade surplus is pegged at $72.35 billion, down from $75.40 billion a month earlier.

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