RTTNews - The Hong Kong stock market has finished lower now in consecutive trading days, giving away more than 150 points or 0.75 percent along the way. The Hang Seng Index fell through the 20,100-point support plateau, and now analysts are expecting the market to track the movements in the China stock market that opens half an hour before Hong Kong.
The global forecast for the Asian bourses is virtually flat after the markets finished generally higher last week. Tobacco, trucking and health care stocks are expected to fall under pressure, with perhaps a bit of support coming from the gold miners and other commodities. The European markets finished firmly in positive territory, while the U.S. bourses ended little changed - and the Asian markets are tipped to follow that latter lead.
The Hang Seng finished modestly lower on Friday, pulled lower by heavy losses in the mainland Shanghai bourse. Financial shares ended under pressure, as did the property stocks and the commodities.
For the day, the index declined 144.13 points or 0.71 percent to close at 20,098.62 after trading between 20,004.70 and 20,409.13 on turnover of 56.06 billion Hong Kong dollars.
Among the decliners, HSBC eased 0.6 percent, while China Mobile shed 0.8 percent, Esprit lost 4.72 percent and PetroChina declined 0.2 percent.
The lead from Wall Street offers little guidance as stocks turned in a lackluster performance over the course of the trading day on Friday after failing to sustain an early upward move. The major averages eventually ended the session mixed, with the tech-heavy NASDAQ closing modestly higher.
The initial strength in the markets came as traders reacted to positive news from the tech sector, with computer maker Dell (DELL) reporting better than expected quarterly results and semiconductor giant Intel (INTC) raising its third quarter guidance. Nonetheless, buying interest waned not long after the opening bell.
Traders largely shrugged off the day's economic data, including a report from Reuters and the University of Michigan that showed their final consumer sentiment index reading for August came in at 65.7 compared to the mid-month reading of 63.2. The revised index came in well above economist estimates of 64.0 but still below July's 66.0.
In a separate report, the Commerce Department said that personal income was nearly unchanged in July following a revised decrease of 1.1 percent in June. Economists had expected income to increase by 0.1 percent compared to the 1.3 percent drop originally reported for the previous month.
The report also showed that personal spending rose 0.2 percent in July compared to an upwardly revised 0.6 percent increase in the previous month. The modest increase came in line with economist estimates. With income unchanged and spending rising, personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income fell to 4.2 percent in July compared with 4.5 percent in June.
While the NASDAQ managed to end the session just above the unchanged line, the Dow and the S&P 500 posted modest losses. The NASDAQ closed up by 1.04 points or 0.1 percent at 2,028.77, while the Dow fell by 36.43 points or 0.4 percent to 9,544.20 and the S&P 500 dipped by 2.05 points or 0.2 percent to 1,028.93. Despite the mixed performance on the session, the major averages all closed modestly higher for the week. The Dow and the NASDAQ both rose 0.4 percent for the week, while the S&P 500 posted a weekly gain of 0.3 percent.
In corporate news, China Unicom reported first-half profit attributable to equity holders of RMB 6.62 billion or RMB 0.28 per share, compared to RMB 12.09 billion or RMB 0.51 per share last year. Profit from continuing operations was RMB 6.62 billion or RMB 0.28 per share, lower than RMB 11.44 billion or RMB 0.48 per share in the prior year period. Revenue declined to RMB 76.32 billion from RMB 81.46 billion in the same period last year.
Also, PetroChina announced the interim results for the six months ended June 30. Profit attributable to owners of the Company was RMB 50.50 billion, down 7.2 percent from RMB 54.44 billion in the year ago period. On a per share basis, net income for the period was RMB 0.28, compared to RMB 0.30 last year. Profit before income tax expense for the period was RMB 63.85 billion, down from RMB 81.36 billion in the comparable period of the prior year. Turnover for the period was RMB 415.28 billion, down from RMB 551.34 billion in the year ago period.
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