(RTTNews) – The Hong Kong stock market on Wednesday snapped the two-day slide in which it had plummeted more than 720 points or 3 percent. The Hang Seng Index now sits just beneath the 24,290-point plateau and it’s expected to be rangebound on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed after the Federal Reserve signaled a rate hike in the near future, although it’s already been largely priced in. Surging crude oil prices should also limit the downside. The European markets were up and the U.S. bourse were mixed and little changed and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.
The Hang Seng finished slightly higher on Wednesday as gains from the oil companies and financials were capped by weakness from the technology companies and a mixed picture from the property sector.
For the day, the index picked up 46.29 points or 0.19 percent to finish at 24,289.90 after trading between 24,123.70 and 24,487.30.
Among the actives, AAC Technologies advanced 1.02 percent, while AIA Group added 0.53 percent, Alibaba Group increased 0.09 percent, Alibaba Health Info declined 1,73 percent, ANTA Sports was up 0.08 percent, China Life Insurance sank 0.43 percent, China Mengniu Dairy tumbled 2.20 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) gained 0.25 percent, CITIC shed 0.34 percent, CNOOC jumped 1.84 percent, Country Garden skidded 0.74 percent, CSPC Pharmaceutical surrendered 2.16 percent, Galaxy Entertainment rose 0.22 percent, Hang Lung Properties spiked 2.20 percent, Henderson Land climbed 1.16 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China collected 0.21 percent, JD.com rallied 1.50 percent, Li Ning plunged 3.77 percent, Meituan dropped 0.35 percent, New World Development lost 0.31 percent, Techtronic Industries tanked 2.97 percent, Xiaomi Corporation retreated 1.02 percent, WuXi Biologics plummeted 6.84 percent and China Resources Land, Longfor and Hong Kong & China Gas were unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street is mixed to lower as the major averages opened firmly higher on Wednesday before late selling sent the Dow and S&P into the red.
The Dow dropped 129.64 points or 0.38 percent to finish at 34,168.09, while the NASDAQ rose 2.82 points or 0.02 percent to close at 13,542.12 and the S&P 500 fell 6.52 points or 0.15 percent to end at 4,349.93.
The late-day pullback on Wall Street came after the Fed indicated that it plans to begin raising interest rates “soon,” citing elevated inflation and a strong labor market. The Fed left interest rates unchanged at near-zero levels as widely expected but said “it will soon be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate.”
The central bank also said it would further reduce the pace of its bond purchases to $30 billion per month beginning in February, with the Fed saying it expects to end its asset purchase program by early March.
In a separate statement, the Fed outlined plans to significantly reduce the size of its balance sheet, saying it expects to start the reductions after it begins raising interest rates.
Crude oil futures settled higher on Wednesday as prices climbed amid rising geopolitical tensions. U.S. President Joe Biden has warned Moscow of damaging sanctions, including measures personally targeting President Vladmir Putin, if Russia invades Ukraine. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended higher by $1.75 or 2 percent at $87.35 a barrel, the highest settlement since October 2014.
Closer to home, Hong Kong will release December figures for import, exports and trade balance later today. In November, imports were up 20.0 percent on year and exports climbed an annual 25.0 percent for a trade deficit of HKD11.6 billion.
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