RTTNews - One day after ending the three-day losing streak in which it had shed more than 525 points or 2.5 percent, the Hong Kong stock market turned right back to the downside again on Wednesday. The Hang Seng Index is clinging to support at the 19,500-point support plateau, but now analysts predict that the market could slide through that level at the opening of trade on Thursday.

The global forecast provides little in the way of guidance for the Asian markets, although a touch of downside could drag the markets lower. Housing stocks and financials are expected to extend losses from the previous session, although gold miners are predicted to surge. The European and U.S. markets finished slightly lower, and the Asian markets are also expected to track to the downside.

The Hang Seng finished sharply lower on Wednesday, dragged lower by weakness from H-shares from the mainland. Financials ended under pressure, as did the property stocks and the airlines - although gains among the automobile producers limited the losses.

For the day, the index plunged 350.3 points or 1.76 percent to finish at 19,522.00 after trading between 19,425.86 and 19,611.07 on turnover of 53.38 billion Hong Kong dollars.

Among the decliners, HSBC Holdings shed 3.24 percent, while SOHO China eased 0.98 percent, Sun Hung Kai Properties fell 2.83 percent, Cheung Kong shed 1.64 percent, Hutchison Whampoa dropped 2.44 percent, Henderson Land Development was off 1.2 percent, Agile Property Holdings lost 2.69 percent, Denway Motors shed 2.23 percent, Dongfeng Motor Group was down 2.89 percent, Sinotruk declined 1.56 percent, CNOOC fell 2 percent, Air China was down 4.4 percent and China Southern Airlines eased 1.7 percent.

Finishing higher, Chaoyue Group climbed 16.48 percent, while Rainbow Brothers Holdings surged 17.78 percent, Great Wall Motor gained 2.09 percent and China Motor Bus added 1.01 percent.

Wall Street puts forth a mildly pessimistic lead as stocks lingered near the unchanged mark for much of the trading day before a tame late session sell-off resulted in a modestly lower close on Wednesday. The major averages all closed on the downside, as traders largely shrugged off today's economic data and looked towards key employment data to close out the week.

The Federal Reserve released the minutes of its August meeting, indicating that the members of the Federal Open Market Committee are more confident that the economic downturn is ending and that growth is likely to resume in the second half of the year. The committee members said that their projections for the second half of 2009 and for subsequent years had not changed appreciably since the June meeting, except that they now saw smaller downside risks.

Nonetheless, while the members saw signs of stabilization in consumer spending and housing, most agreed that the economy is likely to recover only slowly during the second half of this year and all saw it as still vulnerable to adverse shocks.

In other economic news today, the Commerce Department issued a report showing that factory orders increased by less than economists had been expecting in July.

Meanwhile, Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP) said that non-farm private employment fell by more than economists had been anticipating in August, although the loss of jobs still marked the smallest drop in employment since September of 2008.

Separately, the Labor Department released its revised report on labor productivity in the second quarter, showing that productivity increased by more than previously estimated amid a smaller than expected drop in output.

The major averages saw some downside in late session trading, resulting in a lower close. The Dow closed down 29.93 points or 0.3 percent at 9,280.67, the NASDAQ fell by 1.82 points or 0.1 percent to 1,967.07 and the S&P 500 declined by 3.29 points or 0.3 points to close at 994.75.

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