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Higher Open Anticipated For Hong Kong Stock Market

Ahead of the long holiday weekend for the Lunar New Year, the Hong Kong stock market had alternated between positive and negative finishes through its last four trading days following the four-day winning streak in which it had soared more than 410 points or 1.9 percent. The Hang Seng Index now sits just beneath the 22,050-point plateau and it's predicted to open higher on Thursday as it catches up on missed positive sentiment from the holiday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests little movement amid a lack of catalysts with some markets still on holiday. The European and U.S. markets were mixed and little changed and the Asian bourses figure to follow that lead.

The Hang Seng finished sharply higher on Friday with gains across the board, especially among the properties and technology stocks.

For the day, the index surged 393.65 points or 1.82 percent to finish at 22,044.65 after trading between 21,754.35 and 22,051.77.

Among the actives, Alibaba Group spiked 3.65 percent, while Alibaba Health Info surged 3.95 percent, ANTA Sports jumped 2.32 percent, China Life Insurance collected 1.90 percent, China Mengniu Dairy increased 1.08 percent, China Resources Land rallied 2.85 percent, CITIC advanced 2.04 percent, CNOOC skyrocketed 5.37 percent, Country Garden soared 3.69 percent, CSPC Pharmaceutical climbed 2.07 percent, Galaxy Entertainment increased 1.01 percent, Hang Lung Properties perked 0.13 percent, Henderson Land rose 0.51 percent, Hong Kong & China Gas gained 0.92 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China collected 0.96 percent, JD.com spiked 3.02 percent, Lenovo strengthened 2.14 percent, Li Ning rallied 2.55 percent, Meituan surged 4.93 percent, New World Development soared 3.28 percent, Techtronic Industries tumbled 2.48 percent, Xiaomi Corporation jumped 2/42 percent and WuXi Biologics improved 1.35 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is murky as the major averages opened sharply lower on Wednesday but improved as the day progressed, eventually finishing mixed and little changed.

The Dow rose 9.88 points or 0.03 percent to finish at 33,743.84, while the NASDAQ dipped 20.91 points or 0.18 percent to close at 11,313.36 and the S&P 500 eased 0.73 points or 0.02 percent to end at 4,016.22.

The early sell-off on Wall Street reflected a negative reaction to disappointing earnings news from some big-name companies like software giant Microsoft (MSFT) and aerospace giant Boeing (BA).

With gold for February delivery climbing $7.20 to $1,942.60 an ounce, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index jumped by 1.9 percent to a seven-month closing high.

Banking, airline and steel stocks also showed strong moves to the upside, contributing to the recovery by the broader markets.

Crude oil futures rose slightly higher Wednesday, with traders reacting to reports that a diesel refinery in Louisiana was shut after a fire on Saturday. The disruption is expected to last at least a month. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March settled at $80.15 a barrel, up just 2 cents from the previous close.

Closer to home, Hong Kong will see December figures for imports, exports and trade balance later today. In November, imports were down 20.3 percent on year and exports slumped n annual 24.1 percent for a trade deficit of HKD27.1 billion.

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