BEIJING (dpa-AFX) - The China stock market has finished sharply lower in four straight sessions, plunging more than 360 points or 10.2 percent in that span. The Shanghai Composite Index now rests just beneath the 3,130-point plateau although it's expected to find its footing on Monday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is firm, with bargain hunting expected after heavy damage last week. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were up - and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.
The SCI finished sharply lower on Friday following losses from the financials, properties, resource stocks and oil and insurance companies.
For the day, the index plunged 132.20 points or 4.05 percent to finish at 3,129.85 after trading between 3,062.74 and 3,180.11 on turnover of 272.1 billion yuan. The Shenzhen Composite Index tumbled 55.31 points or 3.19 percent to end at 1,679.26 on turnover of 222.1 billion yuan.
Among the actives, Bank of China shed 2.94 percent, while Agricultural Bank of China skidded 3.48 percent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China lost 2.05 percent, China Construction Bank fell 1.53 percent, Bank of Communications tumbled 2.62 percent, China Life plummeted 6.19 percent, Ping An Insurance plunged 6.61 percent, PetroChina surrendered 4.90 percent, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) retreated 5.06 percent, China Vanke was down 4.52 percent, Gemdale gave away 5.48 percent, Jiangxi Copper plummeted 9.98 percent and Zijin Mining plunged 6.82 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks saw substantial volatility on Friday, showing wild swings before closing sharply higher.
The Dow added 330.44 points or 1.38 percent to 24,190.90, the NASDAQ gained 97.33 points or 1.44 percent to 6,874.49 and the S&P jumped 38.55 points 1.49 percent to 2,619.55. For the week, the NASDAQ plummeted 5.1 percent and the Dow and the S&P both plunged 5.2 percent.
The higher close was due to bargain hunting after steep losses in the previous session dragged the major averages to their lowest closing levels in about two months.
Traders may also have reacted positively to news that lawmakers ended a brief government shutdown with a bill raising spending caps and funding the government until March 23rd.
But the day's volatility came amid lingering concerns about the outlook for interest rates. Recent signs of rising inflation have led to worries that the Federal Reserve may raise rates faster than anticipated.
Crude oil futures plunged Friday, entering correction mode. Rising U.S. production, new oil fields in Nigeria and Angola and a stronger dollar have dented oil prices badly in recent weeks. March WTI oil fell $1.95 or 3.2 percent to $59.20/bbl, the lowest since Dec. 22. Oil prices dropped 10 percent last week.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX