The global forecast for the Asian markets is fairly flat with perhaps a touch of downside. There is little in the way of economic data or corporate news due for release ahead of the long holiday weekend in the United States. The European markets finished little changed in mixed fashion, while the U.S. bourses wound up with slight losses, and the Asian markets are also expected to see thin trade.
The Hang Seng finished modestly lower on Friday, shrugging off deep losses in the morning session. Financials finished the session lower, as did the commodities and the technology stocks. For the day, the index retreated 136.97 points or 0.80 percent to close at 17,062.52 after trading between 16,740.27 and 17,299.26 on turnover of 64.5 billion Hong Kong dollars.
Among the actives, HSBC fell 0.83 percent, while China Mobile slipped 0.6 percent, Lenovo Group fell 6.4 percent, CNOOC shed 2.8 percent, Sinopec shrank 2 percent and Sun Hung Kai Properties rose 5 percent.
Wall Street offers little in the way of guidance as stocks closed Friday's quiet session little changed, with traders hesitant to take positions ahead of the long Memorial Day weekend. Bargain hunting drove gains into the late afternoon, but the major averages fell uniformly heading down the home stretch.
The dollar continued to take a brutal beating, as traders continued their exodus from the world's reserve currency amid speculation that the global economy is on the mend. As earnings season winds to a close, traders considered encouraging earnings data from Sears Holdings (SHLD), Gap (GPS) and Campbell's Soup (CPB), prompting some of the gains in equities.
On the corporate front, McDonald's (MCD) added 2.5 percent on the day. With the climb, the stock extended recent gains, moving to its highest level since February. Meanwhile, shares of Disney (DIS) and E.I. Du Pont De Nemours (DD) were also higher, rising by 2 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively, taking back some of their recent losses. The blue chip index was limited by shares of General Motors (GM) which plunged 25 percent, as the firm is likely heading towards bankruptcy.
The Dow slipped 14.81 points or 0.18 percent to finished 8277.32, while the NASDAQ lost 3.24 points or 0.19 percent to end at 1692.01, and the S&P 500 shed 1.33 points or 0.15 percent to close at 887.
In corporate news, oil producer PetroChina will purchase Keppel Corp's 45.5 percent stake in Singapore Petroleum Company for 1.47 billion Singapore dollars and intends to make a general offer to buy the rest of the firm, the company said over the weekend. The deal valued Keppel at 3.2 billion Singapore dollars. It was an equivalent of 6.25 Singapore dollars for each SPC share. The deal still needs regulatory approval.
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