The South Korea stock market has finished higher now in four straight sessions, surging more than 115 points or 6 percent in that span. The KOSPI finished just above the 1,880-point plateau, although now investors figure to take profits when the market kicks off trade on Wednesday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is negative, with investors likely to lock in gains after many of the regional bourses rallied sharply earlier in the week. In addition, traders are likely to move to the sidelines amid expectations that the ECB will unveil new measures this week to drive down the cost of financing. Investors are also awaiting an announcement by the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday and the U.S. jobs report on Friday. The European and U.S. markets were down, and the Asian markets are expected to follow that lead.
The KOSPI finished sharply higher on Tuesday following gains from the technology stocks, automobile producers and shipbuilders.
For the day, the index surged 38.20 points or 2.07 percent to finish at 1,881.99 after trading between 1,842.51 and 1,896.83. Volume was 353.6 million shares worth 5.55 trillion won. There were 563 gainers and 253 decliners.
Among the gainers, Hyundai Heavy Industries surged 6.61 percent, while Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering spiked 6.61 percent, Samsung Electronics jumped 2.67 percent, SK Hynix climbed 1.88 percent, Hyundai Motor soared 1.94 percent and Kia Motors added 2.76 percent.
The lead from Wall Street suggests mild consolidation as stocks moved modestly lower on Tuesday amid subdued selling pressure. Uncertainty ahead of monetary policy decisions from both sides of the Atlantic contributed to the weakness.
Stocks turned in a lackluster performance for most of the day, as traders seemed reluctant to make any significant moves ahead of the announcements. However, modest selling pressure emerged going into the close of trading.
Traders shrugged off a batch of largely upbeat economic data as Standard & Poor's reported a bigger than expected increase in home prices, while a report from the Institute for Supply Management - Chicago showed that Chicago-area business activity unexpectedly expanded at a faster rate in July.
The Conference Board also reported an unexpected improvement in consumer confidence in July, with consumers becoming more optimistic about the short-term outlook. And a separate report from the Commerce Department showed that consumer spending unexpectedly come in roughly flat in June despite a bigger than expected increase in personal income.
On the earnings front, drug giant Pfizer reported Q2 earnings that rose year-over-year and beat estimates, while revenues also exceeded expectations. Aetna also reported better than expected second quarter earnings and raised its full-year guidance. Humana reported second quarter earnings that fell by more than expected and lowered its full-year guidance.
After showing a lack of direction for much of the session, the major averages all ended the day in the red. The Dow fell 64.33 points or 0.5 percent to finish at 13,008.68, while the NASDAQ slipped 6.32 points or 0.2 percent to end at 2,939.52 and the S&P 500 dropped 5.98 points or 0.4 percent to 1,379.32.
In economic news, consumer prices in South Korea were up 1.5 percent on year in July, the Bank of Korea said on Wednesday - below expectations for 1.9 percent and down sharply from 2.2 percent in June. Inflation also slipped below the central bank's target range of 2 to 4 percent last month, the data showed.
On month, overall inflation was down 0.2 percent versus forecasts for an increase of 0.2 percent after easing 0.1 percent in June.
Core CPI, which strips out the volatile costs of food, was flat on month and up 1.2 percent on year.
by RTT Staff Writer
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