The Hong Kong stock market has stretched its winning streak to three sessions, gaining nearly 1,500 points or 10.5 percent along the way. The Hang Seng Index broke through resistance at 15,000 points during intraday trade but failed to close above that level - and now analysts are suggesting a significant pullback at the opening of trade on Tuesday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is negative as investors are expected to lock in profits from recent winning streaks ahead of the opening of corporate earning season - which kicks off this week. Some other disappointing news out of the corporate world added to the negative sentiment, which prompted the European and U.S. markets to finish firmly in the red - and the Asian bourses are tipped to follow that lead.
The Hang Seng finished sharply higher on Monday, led by property stocks, financials, resources and china-related stocks. For the day, the index surged 452.35 points or 3.11 percent to close at 14,998.04 after trading between 14,778.51 and 15,147.06 on turnover of 62.19 billion Hong Kong dollars.
The financials led the market to the upside as HSBC Holdings gained 5.26 percent, while Bank of China advanced 2.29 percent, Bank of Communications added 3.63 percent, ICBC rose 2.95 percent, Bank of East Asia moved up 3.46 percent, Ping An gained 2.03 percent and China Life advanced 3.17 percent.
Among other gainers, Henderson Land advanced 2.79 percent, while Wharf Holdings gained 3.05 percent, SHK Properties rose 3.63 percent, New World Development soared 7.64 percent, Swire Pacific added 6.18 percent, Aluminum Corporation of China (Chalco) surged 6.18 percent, CNOOC gained 1.68 percent, PetroChina rose 3.63 percent and China Resources gained 1.71 percent.
Finishing lower, China Mercantile Holdings lost 0.99 percent and China Overseas was down 0.30 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is pessimistic as stocks regained some ground over the course of afternoon trading on Monday, but they remained mostly negative after trending lower throughout much of the morning. The major averages all ended the day lower after closing higher in the four previous sessions. The notable decline seen in morning trading came as traders cashed in some of the recent gains amid some disappointing corporate news and negative analyst comments.
Sun Microsystems (JAVA) helped to lead the technology sector lower after media reports said that acquisition talks between IBM (IBM) and Sun have collapsed, putting the deal at risk of failure. The reports said that Sun's board rejected a formal acquisition offer by IBM on Saturday, sending a notice terminating Sun's deal to hold talks exclusively with IBM. In response, IBM reportedly withdrew its offer to acquire Sun on Sunday.
Additionally, bank stocks saw notable weakness in reaction to negative comments from veteran banking analyst Mike Mayo, who recently left Deutsche Bank AG to join Calyon Securities. Mayo initiated coverage of several banks with either Sell or Underperform ratings, citing concerns about increased loan losses and the belief that government actions might not help as much as expected.
In other news, the U.S. Treasury Department has extended the deadline for applications to its public-private initiative to buy up distressed assets from banks. The deadline has been pushed out two weeks until April 24. The treasury's program allows fund managers to participate with the government in an initiative aimed at taking distressed assets off the balance sheets of banks. These assets have become nearly impossible to sell since the financial turmoil that set in last year, forcing banks to announce huge write-offs and putting the overall financial system in jeopardy.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama told Turkish lawmakers Monday that he stood behind their bid to join the European Union. The president also stressed that the U.S. remains a friend to the Muslim world, even as the country fights Islamic terrorism.
The major averages showed a notable upward move going into the close but still ended the day in the red. The Dow closed down 41.74 points or 0.5 percent at 7,975.85, the NASDAQ closed down 15.16 points or 0.9 percent at 1,606.71 and the S&P 500 closed down 7.02 points or 0.8 percent at 835.48.
In economic news, Hong Kong will on Tuesday provide March numbers for FX reserves. Forecasts are expected to come in at $179.2 billion after the $177.1 billion surplus in the previous month.
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