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Profit Taking May Drag Hong Kong Shares Lower

23Feb 2017

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The Hong Kong stock market has alternated between positive and negative finishes through the last four trading days since the end of the two-day winning streak in which it had collected more than 300 points or 1.2 percent. The Hang Seng Index now rests just above the 24,200-point plateau, although investors may lock in gains on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft, thanks to profit taking, a fall in crude oil prices and the outlook for interest rates. The European markets were up and the U.S. bourses were down, and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.

The Hang Seng finished sharply higher on Wednesday following gains from the oil companies, Casinos, properties and mainland financials.

For the day, the index spiked 238.33 points or 0.99 percent to finish at the daily high of 24,201.96 after moving as low as 23,999.55.

Among the actives, HSBC shed 0.15 percent, while Bank of Communications jumped 1.91 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China spiked 2.17 percent, Bank of China advanced 1.77 percent, New World Development soared 3.49 percent, Sun Hung Kai Properties gained 1.16 percent, PetroChina perked 1.14 percent, CNOOC added 0.11 percent and Galaxy Entertainment picked up 0.98 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is soft as stocks showed a lack of direction on Wednesday before ending little changed.

The Dow rose 32.60 points or 0.2 percent to 20,775.60, while the NASDAQ eased 5.32 points or 0.1 percent to 5,860.63 and the S&P fell 2.56 points or 0.1 percent to 2,362.82.

The lackluster close followed the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting - which said that it might be appropriate to raise interest rates again fairly soon if the data is agreeable.

In other economic news, the National Association of Realtors said that existing home sales rebounded by more than expected in January.

Energy stocks saw considerable weakness, however, with a drop by the price of crude oil weighing on the sector. Crude for April delivery fell $0.74 to $53.59 a barrel.

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