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Higher Open Anticipated For China Stock Market

Ahead of the long break for the Lunar New Year, the China stock market had moved higher in three straight sessions, collecting almost 160 points or 4.4 percent along the way. The Shanghai Composite Index now sits just above the 3,655-point plateau and it figures to surge on Thursday as it catches up on missed sentiment.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is negative, with more profit taking expected after recent gains. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were mixed and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The SCI finished sharply higher on Feb. 10 following gains from the resource stocks and oil and insurance companies, while the financials and properties were mixed.

For the day, the index climbed 51.60 points or 1.43 percent to finish at 3,655.09 after trading between 3,612.50 and 3,662.77. The Shenzhen Composite Index jumped 42.30 points or 1.75 percent to end at 2,460.54.

Among the actives, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China spiked 1.94 percent, while Bank of China collected 0.63 percent, China Construction Bank rallied 3.77 percent, China Merchants Bank skidded 1.28 percent, Bank of Communications added 0.67 percent, China Life Insurance climbed 1.23 percent, Jiangxi Copper skyrocketed 8.27 percent, Aluminum Corp of China (Chalco) improved 0.84 percent, Yanzhou Coal gathered 1.46 percent, PetroChina gained 0.72 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) jumped 1.46 percent, China Shenhua Energy advanced 0.66 percent, Gemdale retreated 1.28 percent, Poly Developments fell 0.36 percent and China Vanke rose 0.28 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is soft as stocks opened in the red on Wednesday and largely stayed that way, although the Dow was able to finish in the green.

The Dow gained 90.27 points or 0.29 percent to finish at 31,613.02, while the NASDAQ sank 82.00 points or 0.58 percent to end at 13,965.50 and the S&P 500 eased 1.26 points or 0.03 percent to close at 3,931.33.

The early weakness on Wall Street followed the release of a batch of largely upbeat U.S. economic data, which painted a positive picture of the economy but also added to recent inflation concerns.

The Commerce Department said retail sales spiked 5.3 percent in January, while the Federal Reserve said industrial production increased more than expected last month and the Labor Department said producer prices jumped much more than expected in January.

The minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting also signaled the central bank is likely to leave policy unchanged for the foreseeable future, offsetting concerns about the impact of inflation.

Crude oil futures ended sharply higher on Wednesday amid rising concerns over likely disruptions in supply due to severe cold weather in Texas. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended up $1.09 or 1.8 percent at $61.14 a barrel.

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