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More Profit Taking Likely For South Korea Shares

The South Korea stock market has finished lower in two of three trading days since the end of the three-day winning streak in which it had advanced more than 85 points or 4 percent. The KOSPI now rests just above the 2,285-point plateau and the market may see continued consolidation on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is flat, mirroring the price of crude oil and in response to mixed economic data. The European markets were up and the U.S. bourses were largely unchanged, and the Asian markets are expected to split the difference.

The KOSPI finished modestly lower on Friday as losses from the financial shares and automobile producers were offset by support from the technology stocks.

For the day, the index shed 10.35 points or 0.45 percent to finish at 2,286.02 after trading between 2,283.38 and 2,296.51.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial dropped 1.38 percent, while Woori Bank plummeted 1.83 points, LG Electronics spiked 1.75 percent, Samsung Electronics added 0.70 percent, Korea Electric Power gained 0.46 percent, SK hynix skidded 1.95 percent, Hyundai Motor tumbled 1.59 percent, Kia Motors fell 0.95 percent and POSCO picked up 0.74 percent.

The lead from Wall Street provides little clarity as stocks turned in a lackluster performance on Friday before ending mixed.

The NASDAQ added 5.27 points or 0.1 percent to 6,121.23, while the Dow fell 22.81 points or 0.1 percent to 20,896.61 and the S&P lost 3.54 points or 0.2 percent to 2,390.90. For the week, the NASDAQ gained 0.3 percent, the Dow fell 0.5 percent and the S&P eased 0.3 percent.

In economic news, the Commerce Department saw a smaller than expected gain in retail sales in April, while the Labor Department said that consumer prices rebounded in line with estimates in April. Also, the University of Michigan noted a modest improvement in consumer sentiment in May.

Crude oil futures were flat Friday, as industry data showed U.S. drillers added rigs for a 17th week in a row. WTI light sweet crude oil was up a penny at $47.84 a barrel, keeping its gain of 3.5 percent for the week.

by RTT Staff Writer

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