The South Korea stock market on Wednesday snapped the three-day losing streak in which it had given away almost 30 points or 1.5 percent. The KOSPI finished just below the 1,930-point plateau, and now traders are looking for a slightly higher open when the market kicks off trade on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets continues to be a week-long holding pattern, waiting for hints of further stimulus from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The Fed chief is scheduled to speak at the Kansas City Federal Reserve's Jackson Hole symposium on Friday, and many traders expect him to address the possibility of further quantitative easing. Upbeat economic data from the U.S. gives the markets a slight upside bias. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourses were slightly higher, and the Asian markets are expected to split the difference.
The KOSPI finished modestly higher on Wednesday as gains from the technology sector were dented by weakness from the steel companies.
For the day, the index collected 12.21 points or 0.64 percent to finish at 1,928.54 after trading between 1,914.82 and 1,931.00. There were 477 gainers and 343 decliners.
Among the actives, Samsung Electronics jumped 2.9 percent, LG Electronics spiked 4.4 percent and Hanjin Shipping climbed 4.2 percent, while POSCO shed 0.8 percent and Hyundai Steel dipped 1.4 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is cautiously optimistic as stocks showed a lack of direction on Wednesday, extending the lackluster performance seen in the two previous sessions. The choppy trading came despite the release of a batch of relatively upbeat economic data.
Traders largely shrugged off some upbeat U.S. economic data, including a report from the Commerce Department showing stronger than estimated U.S. economic growth in the second quarter. GDP increased 1.7 percent in the second quarter compared to the 1.5 percent growth previously reported - in line with estimates.
Also, the National Association of Realtors showed that pending home sales rose by more than expected in July, reaching their highest level in over two years. NAR said its pending home sales index rose by 2.4 percent to 101.7 in July after falling by 1.4 percent to 99.3 in June. Economists had been expecting the index to increase by about 1.0 percent.
Additionally, the Federal Reserve released its Beige Book, indicating that U.S. economic activity continued to expand gradually in July and early August. The Fed's Beige Book is a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions from each of the twelve Fed districts. Six districts indicated that the local economy continued to expand at a modest pace, while another three cited moderate growth.
The major U.S. averages were slightly higher on Wednesday as the Dow inched up 4.49 points or less than a tenth of a percent to finish at 13,107.48, while the NASDAQ rose 4.05 points or 0.1 percent to end at 3,081.19 and the S&P 500 edged up 1.19 points or 0.1 percent to close at 1,410.49.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com