RTTNews - The China stock market has finished higher now in consecutive trading days, gathering more than 100 points or 3 percent on its way to a fresh 13-month closing high. The Shanghai Composite Index cracked the 3,050-point plateau, although traders are bracing for sharp declines at the opening of trade on Friday, following the rest of the region to the downside.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is broadly negative, thanks to U.S. jobs data that came in worse than expected, for the moment dashing hopes that the worldwide economic slowdown might be coming to an end. Commodities and financials in particular are expected to fall, especially after the European and U.S .markets ended with heavy losses - and the Asian bourses are also expected to plummet.

The SCI finished sharply higher on Thursday, led by the oil companies. Commodities and financials also ended higher, as did the industrials.

For the day, the index jumped 52.10 points or 1.73 percent to close at 3,060.25 after trading between 3,015.08 and 3,062.56. The Shenzhen Index closed was up 121.97 points or 1.03 percent to end at 11,970.72 points for a combined turnover of 266.19 billion yuan. Gainers in Shanghai outnumbered decliners 509 to 284, while 61 were unchanged.

Among the gainers, PetroChina gained 3.29 percent, while Sinopec added 3.90 percent, China Shenhua Energy rose 4.33 percent, Chinalco was up 4.45 percent, China State Shipbuilding jumped 6.72 percent, Bank of Communications gained 3.36 percent, China Construction Bank Corp added 2.58 percent, China Pacific Insurance was up 6.13 percent, China Life Insurance gained 2.17 percent, Ping An Insurance rose 5.18 percent, Zijin Mining surged 7.36 percent and Shandong Gold Mining was up 0.98 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is sharply lower as stocks lingered near their worst levels of the day throughout the trading session on Thursday after plummeting early on in reaction to disappointing employment data. The major averages all posted steep losses ending the holiday-shortened week on a sour note as the markets will be closed on Friday for Independence Day.

The day's losses came on the heels of a report from the Labor Department showing that non-farm payroll employment fell by 467,000 jobs in June following a revised decrease of 322,000 jobs in May. Economists had expected a decrease of about 365,000 jobs compared to the loss of 345,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month. With the bigger than expected decrease in employment, the unemployment rate edged up to 9.5 percent in June from 9.4 percent in May. The increase lifted the unemployment rate to its highest level since August of 1983, although it was below economist estimates of 9.6 percent.

Following the weak jobs data, traders largely shrugged off a report from the Commerce Department showing that orders for manufactured goods rose 1.2 percent in May following a downwardly revised 0.5 percent increase in April. Economists had expected orders to rise 0.9 percent compared to the 0.7 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

On the corporate front, auto-parts supplier Lear Corporation (LEA) said that it has reached an agreement with lenders to restructure its debt and said it plans to file for Chapter 11 protection soon. In addition, the company said it had obtained $500 million in bankruptcy financing.

In other news, Walgreen Co. (WAG) said that its comparable store sales for the month of June increased 3.4 percent. Net sales for the month were $5.24 billion, up 9.0 percent from $4.80 billion for the same month in 2008.

Separately, Exelon (EXC) announced an increase in its bid to acquire all of the outstanding shares of NRG Energy (NRG), now offering a fixed exchange ratio of 0.545 of a share, a 12.4 percent increase over the initial exchange offer of 0.485.

The major indices saw further downside late in the session, finishing near their worst levels of the day. The Dow closed down by 223.32 points or 2.6 percent at 8,280.74, the NASDAQ fell by 49.20 points or 2.7 percent to 1,796.52, and the S&P 500 closed down 26.91 points or 2.9 percent at 896.42. For the week the, Dow fell by 1.9 percent, the NASDAQ slipped 2.3 percent and the S&P 500 dropped by 2.4 percent. The week's downward move was largely due to Thursday's retreat.

In economic news, China's Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei said on Thursday that his country hopes for the diversification of the international currency system in the future. Referring to the G8 meeting to be held in Italy on July 8 to 10, the foreign ministry official said, If this issue is raised by leaders during the meeting it is nothing strange, it is natural because we are all discussing how to respond to the international crisis.

On June 26, the People's Bank of China renewed its call for a new global reserve currency to replace the U.S. dollar. China, the largest foreign currency reserve holder, first called for an international reserve currency managed by the International Monetary Fund in March.

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