(RTTNews) – The Hong Kong stock market has finished sharply lower in two straight sessions, plunging more than 1,100 points or 4.3 percent in that span. The Hang Seng Index now rests just above the 26,150-point plateau and it’s overdue for support on Friday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed, with bargain hunting and interest rate optimism offset by tumbling crude oil prices and trade concerns, The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses ended mixed – and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.
The Hang Seng finished sharply lower again on Thursday with damage across the board – especially the financials, casinos and oil companies.
For the day, the index plummeted 663.30 points or 2.47 percent to finish at 26,156.38 after trading between 26,016.09 and 26,381.12.
Among the actives, CSPC Pharmaceutical plummeted 14.48 percent, while AAA technologies plunged 5.59 percent, Tencent Holdings tumbled 5.23 percent, WH Group skidded 5.21 percent, Galaxy Entertainment dropped 3.95 percent, Sands China retreated 3.39 percent, China Mengniu Dairy declined 3.23 percent, China Life Insurance contracted 3.12 percent, AIA Group shed 2.47 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China lost 2.46 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) fell 2.23 percent, CNOOC slid 1.95 percent, Ping An Insurance dipped 1.94 percent, CITIC eased 0.94 percent, New World Development was down 0.75 percent and Hong Kong & China Gas added 0.25 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is mixed as stocks shrugged off a sharply lower open on Thursday, rebounding to finish mixed.
The Dow shed 79.40 points or 0.32 percent to 24,947.67. while the NASDAQ added 29.83 points or 0.42 percent to 7,188.26 and the S&P 500 fell 4.11 points or 0.15 percent to 2,695.95.
The rebound was partly attributed to reports that Federal Reserve officials are considering a “wait-and-see mentality” after a likely interest rate hike later this month. Traders also went bargain hunting following the early sell-off.
In economic news, payroll processor ADP said private sector employment increased less than expected in November. Also, the Labor Department said first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell less than expected in the week ended December 1.
The Commerce Department reported that the U.S. trade deficit widened to its highest level in ten years in October. Also, the Institute for Supply Management noted acceleration in the pace of growth in service sector activity in November.
Crude oil prices drifted lower Thursday as OPEC postponed a decision about output reduction to later today. Crude oil futures for January ended down $1.40 or 2.7 percent at $51.49 a barrel, after declining to a low of $50.11 a barrel.