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Profit Taking Expected For Hong Kong Stock Market

The Hong Kong stock market has climbed higher in seven straight sessions, surging more than 1,950 points or 7 percent along the way. The Hang Seng Index now rests just beneath the 31,100-point plateau although it's overdue for consolidation on Thursday.

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 Hang Seng finished sharply higher on Wednesday following gains from the financial shares, technology stocks and oil and insurance companies.

For the day, the index surged 338.28 points or 1.10 percent to finish at 31,084.94 after trading between 30,503.46 and 31,168.30.

Among the actives, AAC Technologies skyrocketed 7.11 percent, while China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) surged 5.34 percent, Sands China soared 4.93 percent, CNOOC spiked 4.51 percent, Ping An Insurance rallied 2.87 percent, Meituan accelerated 2.78 percent, China Life Insurance jumped 2.52 percent, China Mengniu Dairy plummeted 2.42 percent, Hang Lung Properties plunged 2.02 percent, CSPC Pharmaceutical climbed 1.82 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China collected 1.78 percent, Galaxy Entertainment gathered 1.16 percent, Alibaba Group perked 1.06 percent, WuXi Biologics tanked 1.05 percent, Wharf Real Estate advanced 1.03 percent, BOC Hong Kong added 0.83 percent, Sun Hung Kai Properties tumbled 0.80 percent, Hong Kong & China Gas skidded 0.72 percent, CITIC gained 0.63 percent, Hengan International sank 0.63 percent, AIA Group rose 0.57 percent, New World Development was up 0.54 percent, Power Assets shed 0.48 percent, China Resources Land lost 0.47 percent, Xiaomi Corporation fell 0.17 percent, Techtronic Industries slid 0.15 percent and ANTA Sports was unchanged.

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.

Closer to home, Hong Kong will see jobless data for January later today; in December, the jobless rate was 6.6 percent.

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