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Most Asian Exchanges will post losses today after another sideways night in the USA. Many exchanges across Asia started to drift yesterday afternoon and today that direction will continue. Bangkok rallied in defiance of the political protests.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index ended in positive territory with a marginal gain of 19.91 points, or 0.09%, at 21,228, as investors preferred to lock in gains amid concern that mainland China might further tighten monetary policy measures to cool off the growing economy after inflation surged up more than expected in February. Lack of economic data and cues about global economy called for caution among traders as index ended with marginal gains.
The Indian market ended modestly higher on Thursday, helped by late buying following a gain in the U.S index futures.
IT stocks outperformed on improving business outlook. After trading in a lackluster manner for most of the day, the 30-share Sensex dramatically gained over 100 points in late trading before paring some gains and finishing at 17,168, up 70 points or 0.41%, while the 50-share Nifty ended up 17 points or 0.34% at 5,133.
However, Singapore's Strait Times added 11.62 points, or 0.41% to close at 2,874, China's Shanghai Composite Index edged up 2.36 points, or 0.08%, to close at 3,051, and Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index advanced 6.30 points , or 0.24%, to close at 2,676.
Technology shares see-sawed after five straight winning sessions, with Oracle Corp up nearly 1 per cent to $US25.06. Financial companies bailed out by the government also added to recent gains. Citigroup Inc rose 2.5 per cent at $US4.06.
"You started off this morning with some hesitation and (concern about) China overheating. But it's being counterweighted by feelings the financial sector here is healing," said Jim Awad, managing director at Zephyr Management in New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 3.02 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 10,564.31. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 1.27 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 1144.34. The Nasdaq Composite Index dipped 0.59 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 2358.36.
Stocks barely reacted after data showed initial jobless claims dropped by 6000 to 462,000 in the latest week. Economists pegged the number at 460,000.
The US trade deficit narrowed unexpectedly as oil imports fell to their lowest since February 1999.
Among the top drags on the Dow was manufacturer 3M, down 1 percent at $80.72.
On Nasdaq, shares of Hologic Inc jumped 6.1 per cent to $US18.61 and hit an 18-month high after talk that Philips Electronics NV may want to buy the medical diagnostics company, traders in London and New York said. A Philips spokesman in Amsterdam declined to comment.
In other corporate news, BP Plc agreed to buy Brazilian, Azeri and Gulf of Mexico fields from Devon Energy Corp for $US7 billion. Devon shares rose 1.3 per cent to $US72.60.
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