RTTNews - The China stock market has ended higher now in consecutive sessions since it saw an end to the seven-day winning streak in which it gathered nearly 230 points or 9 percent on its way to a fresh nine-month closing high. The Shanghai Composite Index cracked resistance at 2,650 points, but investors are preparing for a day of sharply negative trade on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is laced with pessimism as sentiment plummeted on weaker than expected economic data out of the United States, as well as mixed corporate news. The European markets finished sharply lower, as did the U.S. markets - and the Asian markets are forecast to also move significantly lower.

The SCI finished sharply higher on Wednesday, touching a fresh nine-month closing high. Steel and coal producers led the gainers, while machinery stocks also ended higher.

For the day, the index jumped 45.59 points or 1.74 percent to close at 2,663.77 after trading between 2,608.32 and 2,670.21. The Shenzhen Index was up 115.22 points or 1.13 percent to finish at 10,294.37 for a combined turnover of 222.89 billion yuan. Gains outnumbered losses by 514 to 315 in Shanghai and 475 to 242 in Shenzhen.

Among the gainers, Xiamen Tungsten rose by the 10 percent daily limit, while Tangshan Iron and Steel closed up 2.2 percent, China Coal Energy jumped 7.1 percent, PetroChina rose 6.07 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical was up 3.1 percent, Jinniu Energy Resources was up 8.38 percent and Pingdingshan Tianan Coal Mining climbed 7.36 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is broadly negative as stocks saw substantial weakness during trading on Wednesday, as disappointing retail sales offset some of the recent optimism about the outlook for the economy. The major averages all moved sharply lower after ending the previous session mixed.

The weakness in the markets came after a report from the Commerce Department showed that retail sales unexpectedly fell for the second consecutive month in April after showing back-to-back increases in the first two months of the year. The report showed that retail sales fell 0.4 percent in April following a revised 1.3 percent decrease in March. Economists had expected sales to come in unchanged compared to the 1.2 percent decrease originally reported for the previous month.

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed a continued decrease in business inventories in the month of March. The report showed that business inventories fell 1.0 percent in March following a revised 1.4 percent decrease in February.

Meanwhile, shares of Intel (INTC) ended the day modestly lower after the European Commission fined the semiconductor giant a record 1.06 billion euros for allegedly abusing its dominant position on the market for computer chips known as x86 central processing units. Intel president and CEO, Paul Otellini said the company takes strong exception to the decision, arguing that it ignores the reality of a highly competitive microprocessor marketplace. Otellini added that Intel would appeal the decision.

On the earnings front, department store operator Macy's (M) reported a first quarter adjusted loss that came in narrower than analysts had been expecting. Nonetheless, shares of Macy's fell 6.7 percent, as the weak sales data weight on the retail sector.

In other news, American International Group CEO Edward Liddy appeared before lawmakers, attempting to defend the steps the beleaguered insurer has taken to reduce the risks it poses to the financial system.

The major averages all closed firmly negative, with the NASDAQ ending the session at its worst level of the day. The Dow fell 184.22 points or 2.2 percent to 8,284.89, the NASDAQ closed down 51.73 points or 3 percent at 1,664.19 and the S&P 500 fell 24.43 points or 2.7 percent to 883.92.

In economic news, industrial production in China was up 7.3 percent on year in April, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday - below forecasts for an 8.6 percent expansion following the 8.3 percent gain in March. For the period of January through April, industrial output was up 5.5 percent on year. Through the first three months of the year, output had been higher by an annual 5.1 percent.

Also, the NBS also said that retail sales were up 14.8 percent on year in April to 934.32 billion yuan, slightly better than forecasts for a 14.7 percent annual gain. Through the first four months of the year, retail sales were up 15 percent to 3.874 trillion yuan.

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