BEIJING (dpa-AFX) - The China stock market has fallen lower in four consecutive sessions, sliding almost 45 points or 1.4 percent in that span. The Shanghai Composite Index now rests just above the 3,270-point plateau although it may halt its decline on Friday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is positive on optimism the U.S. government will avoid a shutdown, and a bump in crude oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were up and the Asian bourses figure to open in similar fashion.
The SCI finished modestly lower on Thursday following losses from the financials, properties and resource stocks.
For the day, the index fell 21.91 points or 0.67 percent to finish at 3,272.05 after trading between 3,259.16 and 3,291.28. The Shenzhen Composite Index shed 0.6 percent to end at 1,868.42.
Among the actives, Bank of China shed 0.51 percent, while Industrial and Commercial Bank of China dropped 1.17 percent, Agricultural Bank of China lost 0.53 percent, China Life skidded 1.01 percent, Ping An retreated 1.10 percent, PetroChina fell 0.49 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) dipped 0.33 percent, Vanke tumbled 2.66 percent, Gemdale eased 0.16 percent, Jiangxi Copper plummeted 2.43 percent and Zijin Mining was unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street is firm as stocks saw moderate strength on Thursday, although they remained beneath their recent record closing highs.
The Dow rose 70.57 points or 0.29 percent to 24,211.48, while the NASDAQ advanced 36.47 points or 0.54 percent to 6,812.84 and the S&P 500 climbed 7.71 points or 0.29 percent to 2,636.98.
The strength reflected optimism about lawmakers passing a short-term spending bill to avoid a government shutdown ahead of Friday's deadline. However, traders continued to express uncertainty about the details of the Republican tax reform bill.
In economic news, the Labor Department noted an unexpected decrease in first-time claims for jobless benefits in the week ended December 2. Also, the Federal Reserve said that consumer credit jumped by $20.5 billion in October, beating estimates.
Crude oil futures rebounded Thursday, as traders bet this week's decline was overdone. WTI light sweet crude oil was up 76 cents at $56.72 a barrel, having slipped from near $60 over the past few weeks.
Closer to home, China will release November numbers for imports, exports and trade balance later today.
Imports are expected to add 12.0 percent on year, slowing from 17.2 percent in October. Exports are called higher by 5.1 percent, slowing from 6.9 percent in the previous month. The trade surplus is pegged at $34.70 billion, down from $38.17 billion a month earlier.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX