Plus   Neg

South Korea Shares Unlikely To Sustain Gains

The South Korea stock market on Tuesday halted the three-day slide in which it had fallen almost 45 points or 2.2 percent. The KOSPI finished just above the 1,965-point plateau, although now analysts are forecasting renewed selling pressure at the opening of trade on Wednesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is firmly negative thank to renewed concerns about the debt contagion in Europe. There are questions about what will happen with the bailouts that Greece has received and whether will Greece remain in the European Union. The incoming French president also may weigh, as Socialist Francois Hollande has expressed significant opposition to using austerity measures to address the European debt crisis. The European and U.S. stock markets finished lower, and the Asian bourses figure to follow suit.

The KOSPI finished modestly higher on Tuesday following gains from the finance, steel and chemical companies.

For the day, the index collected 10.57 points or 0.54 percent to finish at 1,967.01 after trading between 1,961.44 and 1,969.64. Volume was 484 million shares worth 4.10 trillion won. There were 544 gainers and 276 decliners.

Among the gainers, POSCO jumped 2.57 percent, while Kia Motors climbed 1.11 percent, LG Chem collected 1.36 percent, Shinhan Financial Group gathered 1.11 percent, Samsung Life Insurance rose 0.93 percent, SK Innovation was up 0.98 percent and Korea Electric Power added 0.21 percent.

The lead from Wall Street suggests consolidation as stocks finished moderately lower on Tuesday. Weakness seen in early trade was partly due to concerns that the results of recent elections in France and Greece will negatively impact recent efforts to address the European debt crisis.

Negative sentiment was generated by news that Greece's mainstream conservatives failed to form a coalition government following Sunday's election, giving the Left Coalition party an opportunity. That could result in a government opposed to the terms of the bailout by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Traders also continued to express concerns about the impact of Socialist Francois Hollande's election as the next president of France. Hollande is expected to butt heads with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and he has expressed significant opposition to using austerity measures to address the European debt crisis.

The continued focus on the latest political developments in Europe came amid another light day on the U.S. economic front. Nonetheless, selling pressure waned over the course of the morning and some traders looked to pick up stocks at reduced levels following the early sell-off.

Among individual stocks, shares of Electronic Arts (EA) came under pressure after the video game maker reported better than expected fourth quarter results but provided disappointing first quarter guidance. Fast food giant McDonald's (MCD) also ended the day in the red after reporting a smaller than expected increase in April comparable sales.

The major averages ended the session well off their worst levels but remained stuck in the red. The Dow fell 76.44 points or 0.6 percent to finish at 12,932.09, while the NASDAQ dropped 11.49 points or 0.4 percent to end at 2,946.27 and the S&P 500 slipped 5.86 points or 0.4 percent to 1,363.72.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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