RTTNews - The Hong Kong stock market on Monday halted the three-day losing streak in which it lost more than 480 points or 2.8 percent. The Hang Seng Index has regained the 17,100-point plateau one day after giving it up, but now investors are bracing for a return to modest selling pressure at the opening of trade on Tuesday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets offers little in the way of guidance as both the U.S. and United Kingdom markets were off Monday on holiday. Investors are likely to be spooked by the nuclear test conducted by North Korea and the worldwide condemnation that followed it, ratcheting up international tensions. The economic and corporate sectors provide no clear leads, so the Asian markets are expected to see little movement in thin trade.
The Hang Seng finished slightly higher on Monday, as strength among the property stocks was enough to bump the market into positive territory. Resource and China-related stocks also ended higher, while the financials were mixed and the insurance stocks fell under pressure.
For the day, the index added 59.30 points or 0.35 percent to close at 17,121.82 after trading between 16,789.00 and 17,264.42.
Among the gainers, PetroChina was up 1.48 percent, while CNOOC added 3.27 percent, China Mercantile Holdings advanced 3.70 percent, China Resources added 2.70 percent, China Shenhua gained 3.38 percent, Bank of East Asia surged 6.68 percent, HSBC Holdings gained 1.85 percent and Hang Seng Bank gained 0.85 percent.
Finishing lower, ICBC lost 1.71 percent, while Bank of China slipped 1.67 percent and BOC Hong Kong lost 0.53 percent.
The U.S .markets were closed on Monday in observance of Memorial Day, but many of the European markets rose for the first time in three days as a rally among pharmaceutical stocks overshadowed a report that showed German business confidence rose less than expected in May.
A monthly survey conducted by the Munich-based Ifo Institute for Economic Research showed that German business confidence improved to 84.2 in May from 83.7 in April. However, the indicator stood below the expected reading of 85.
Crude for July delivery fell $0.62 to $61.05 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, by the time the European markets closed, as investors eyed an OPEC meeting this week and weighed evidence of a global economic recovery.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 0.20 percent higher at 857.71 points, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index rose 0.31 percent to 2,100.72 points. Around Europe, France's CAC 40 index rose 0.25 percent to 3,236.16, while Germany's DAX index fell 0.01 percent to 4,918.45. The U.K. market was closed for a holiday.
Sanofi-Aventis, France's biggest drug maker, surged up 1.6 percent after the company received a $190 million order for swine flu vaccine from the U.S. government. Swiss drug maker Roche climbed 1.6 percent after the company said its Mircera treatment helped anemia patients with chronic kidney disease in a study. Acciona jumped 2.5 percent after Celebi Hava Servisi, a Turkish provider of airport services, agreed to buy its ground-handling companies in Spain and Germany.
On the other hand, sports car maker Porsches slipped 3.1 percent after the company confirmed media reports that it received a ?700 million loan from Volkswagen to help with its finances. Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest bank, fell 1 percent after the country's financial regulator started a probe into potential violations the company uncovered in its corporate security department.
In economic news, Hong Kong is on Tuesday scheduled to release April numbers for imports, exports and trade balance. Analysts are expecting imports to decline 24.6 percent on year after the 22.7 percent annual decline in March. Exports are called lower by 24 percent following the 21.1 percent annual contraction in the previous month. The trade balance is forecast to show a deficit of 11.8 billion Hong Kong dollars after the 18.2 billion Hong Kong dollar shortfall a month earlier.
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