Higher Open Predicted For Hong Kong Shares

The Hong Kong stock market on Friday wrote a finish to the two-day slide in which it had fallen almost 200 points or 0.7 percent. The Hang Seng Index now rests just above the 27,800-point plateau, and it may extend its gains on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mildly optimistic following support from crude oil prices and mixed economic data. The European markets were down and the U.S. markets were up, and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.

The Hang Seng finished slightly higher on Friday as gains from the oil companies were tempered by weakness from the property stocks and a mixed bag from the casinos and insurance companies.

For the day, the index advanced 30.39 points or 0.11 percent to finish at 27,807.59 after trading between 27,514.04 and 27,893.58.

Among the actives, Henderson Land surged 2.75 percent, while CNOOC soared 2.71 percent, Hong Kong & China Gas spiked 1.09 percent, Li & Fung climbed 1.04 percent, Lenovo Group skidded 0.94 percent, Hang Lung Properties shed 0.87 percent, Sino Land dropped 0.86 percent, Tingyi Holdings lost 0.66 percent, Sands China added 0.53 percent, Galaxy Entertainment fell 0.48 percent, New World Development dipped 0.36 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) and CITIC both advanced 0.34 percent, Ping An Insurance collected 0.24 percent, China Life eased 0.21 percent and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Belle International both were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is cautiously optimistic as stocks moved modestly higher on Friday, allowing the Dow and the S&P 500 to hit record closing highs.

The Dow rose 64.86 points or 0.3 percent to 22,268.34, while the NASDAQ climbed 19.38 points or 0.3 percent to 6,448.47 and the S&P gained 4.61 points or 0.2 percent to 2,500.23. For the week, the Dow surged 2.2 percent, while the S&P jumped 1.6 percent and the NASDAQ advanced 1.4 percent.

In economic news, the Commerce Department said retail sales missed forecasts in July, while the Federal Reserve saw a fall in industrial output in August. Also, the University of Michigan said consumer sentiment waned in September.

Crude oil futures were flat Friday, holding strong weekly gains. WTI light sweet crude oil, which briefly jumped above $50 a barrel, was steady at $49.89. Prices were up 5.1 percent for the week.

Closer to home, Hong Kong will provide jobless figures for August later today; in July, the jobless rate was 3.1 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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