RTTNews - The Hong Kong stock market finished lower by less than a dozen points on Tuesday, but that was enough to snap the market's three-day winning streak after it had gained nearly 700 points or 3.5 percent to hit a 12-month high. The Hang Seng Index slid below the 20,800-point plateau, and analysts are expecting the market to hover right around that level at the opening of trade on Wednesday.
The global forecast for the Asian bourses offers little guidance with a flat opening likely in the cards. Financials and properties are expected to extend gains, but they'll likely be countered by profit taking among the oil, steel and retail stocks. The European markets finished modestly in negative territory, while the U.S. markets ended slightly positive - and the Asian markets are also expected to hover around the unchanged line.
The Hang Seng finished barely lower on Tuesday, weighed down by weakness among the financials and the property stocks. H-shares from mainland China also finished lower. Commodities extended their rally to help limit the losses.
For the day, the index shed 10.83 points or 0.05 percent to close at 20,796.43 after trading between 20,748.61 and 21,196.75 on turnover of 95.8 billion Hong Kong dollars.
Among the actives, HSBC Holdings surged 7 percent, while Hang Seng Bank shed 3.8 percent, Standard Charter lost 2.3 percent, SJM Holdings fell 4.6 percent, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China fell 3.2 percent, China Construction Bank was off 1.6 percent and Chalco rose 3.3 percent.
Wall Street offers a barely positive lead as stocks ended Tuesday's trading on a positive note amid some late session buying interest following a choppy session. The major averages all finished in positive territory by moderate margins, building on yesterday's strong gains that helped the NASDAQ and S&P 500 cross key levels.
On the economic front, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing that pending home sales growth in June exceeded economist estimates by a wide margin. With the increase, pending sales rose for the fifth consecutive month. NAR said its pending home sales index jumped 3.6 percent to 94.6 in June from an upwardly revised reading of 91.3 in May. Economists had been expecting a much more modest increase by the index of about 0.7 percent.
Earlier, the Commerce Department released a report showing that personal spending increased by slightly more than expected, while personal income fell by more than expected. The report showed that personal spending rose 0.4 percent in June following a revised 0.1 percent increase in May. Economists had been expecting spending to increase by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.3 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.
At the same time, the Commerce Department said that personal income fell by 1.3 percent in June after increasing by a revised 1.3 percent in the previous month. The decrease compares to economist estimates of a 1.0 percent decline. Subsequently, the report said that personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income was 4.6 percent in June compared with 6.2 percent in May.
On the earnings front, Centex (CTX) was one of the few bright spots among a slew of disappointing results that included Pulte (PHM), D.R. Horton (DHI), Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Tenet Healthcare (THC), among others.
The major averages showed a notable upward move going into the close, climbing back above the unchanged line. The Dow closed up by 33.63 points or 0.4 percent at 9,320.19, the NASDAQ advanced by 2.70 points or 0.1 percent to 2,011.31 and the S&P 500 rose by 3.02 points or 0.3 percent to 1,005.65.
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