Plus   Neg

Lower Open Called For Hong Kong Stock Market

The Hong Kong stock market on Friday ended the two-day losing streak in which it had dropped more than 150 points or 0.6 percent. The Hang Seng Index now rests just above the 28,760-point plateau although it's expected to open in the red on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft on geopolitical concerns and the ever-changing outlook for interest rates. The European markets were up and the U.S. markets were down and the Asian bourses figure to follow the latter lead.

The Hang Seng finished sharply higher on Friday following gains from the financials, properties and oil and insurance companies.

For the day, the index climbed 303.74 points or 1.07 percent to finish at 28,765.40 after trading between 28,551.20 and 28,809.59.

Among the actives, AIA Group surged 2.73 percent, while China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) soared 1.95 percent, CNOOC spiked 1.86 percent, Galaxy Entertainment jumped 1.77 percent, Tencent Holdings climbed 1.46 percent, Ping An Insurance perked 1.43 percent, WH Group gathered 1.42 percent, China Mengniu Dairy advanced 1.28 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China collected 1.27 percent, China Life Insurance added 1.22 percent, AAC Technologies gained 1.04 percent, New World Development rose 0.65 percent, BOC Hong Kong was up 0.64 percent and CSPC Pharmaceutical fell 0.45 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is negative as stocks opened higher on Friday but fell into the red as the day progressed and finished in negative territory.

The Dow shed 68.80 points or 0.25 percent to finish at 27,154.20, while the NASDAQ lost 60.75 points or 0.74 percent to 8,146.49 and the S&P 500 fell 18.50 points or 0.62 percent to 2,976.61. For the week, the Dow lost 0.7 percent and the S&P 500 and NASDAQ both dropped 1.2 percent.

The initial strength in Wall Street followed upbeat earnings news from Microsoft (MSFT), as the software giant reported fiscal Q4 results that beat estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

Buying interest waned however, when the New York Federal Reserve tried to walk back comments President John Williams made Thursday that seemed to endorse a near-term interest rate cut.

Crude oil prices moved up Friday on rising tensions in the Middle East after the U.S. Navy shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended up $0.33 or 0.6 percent at $55.63 a barrel. For the week, crude oil futures lost more than 7 percent on demand concerns.

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