(RTTNews) – Ahead of the long break for the Lunar New Year, the Hong Kong stock market had moved lower in two straight sessions, tumbling more than 750 points or 3 percent along the way. The Hang Seng Index now sits just above the 23,550-point plateau and it’s expected to open in the green on Friday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft with profit taking expected, especially among technology stocks. The European and U.S. markets were down and the Asian markets figure to open in similar fashion, although Hong Kong may open higher as it catches up on missed positive sentiment.
The Hang Seng finished sharply lower on Friday following losses from the financials, properties, casinos and technology stocks.
For the day, the index tumbled 256.92 points or 1.08 percent to finish at 23,550.08 after trading between 23,507.03 and 23,848.02.
Among the actives, AAC Technologies advanced 0.85 percent, while AIA Group plummeted 4.04 percent, Alibaba Group jumped 1.38 percent, Alibaba Health Info and China Life Insurance both slumped 1.17 percent, ANTA Sports skidded 1.53 percent, China Mengniu Dairy weakened 1.18 percent, China Resources Land dropped 0.68 percent, CITIC declined 1.82 percent, CNOOC and CLP both added 0.32 percent, Country Garden climbed 0.98 percent, CSPC Pharmaceutical rose 0.22 percent, Galaxy Entertainment fell 0.54 percent, Henderson Land retreated 1.73 percent, Hong Kong & China Gas lost 0.66 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China sank 0.85 percent, JD.com surrendered 3.20 percent, Li Ning gained 0.27 percent, Longfor was up 0.11 percent, Meituan shed 0.67 percent, New World Development slid 0.47 percent, Techtronic Industries tanked 3.73 percent, Xiaomi Corporation stumbled 1.33 percent, WuXi Biologics plunged 3.76 percent and China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) and Hang Lung Properties were unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street is broadly negative as the major averages opened sharply lower on Thursday and stayed that way throughout the session, ending a four-day winning streak.
The Dow plunged 518.17 points or 1.45 percent to finish at 35,111.16, while the NASDAQ plummeted 538.73 points or 3.74 percent to end at 13,878.82 and the S&P tumbled 111.94 points or 2.44 percent to close at 4,477.44.
A steep drop by Meta (FB) weighed on the tech sector, with the Facebook parent plunging nearly 27 percent, and hitting its lowest intraday level in well over a year after reporting weaker than expected Q4 earnings and disappointing revenue guidance for the current quarter.
Several other social media stocks, including Snap and Twitter, tumbled as well. Weak earnings updates from other companies like Honeywell (down more than 7 percent) and Spotify (down nearly 17 percent) also weighed on sentiment.
In economic news, the Labor Department noted a modest decrease by first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits last week. Also, the Institute for Supply Management noted a continued slowdown in the pace of growth in U.S. service sector activity in January.
Crude oil prices surged on Thursday as concerns about possible supply disruptions outweighed OPEC’s decision to increase crude output in March. Geopolitical concerns in Eastern Europe and the Middle East have raised concerns about supplies. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended higher by $2.01 or 2.3 percent at a seven-year high $90.27 a barrel.
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