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South Korea Stocks May Find Support At 2,000 Points

The South Korea stock market on Monday wrote a finish to the modest two-day winning streak in which it had collected more than 35 points or 1.7 percent. The KOSPI now rests just above the 2,000-point plateau, and now traders are looking for renewed support when the market kicks off trade on Tuesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed with a touch of upside ahead of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy meeting later in the day. Adding to the cautious sentiment, Italy slid back into recession - putting heavy selling pressure on gold and oil stocks. The European markets finished slightly higher and the U.S. bourses were mixed but little changed - and the Asian markets are expected to split the difference.

The KOSPI finished modestly lower on Monday following losses among the industrial issues and shipbuilders.

For the day, the index declined 17.80 points or 0.78 percent to finish at 2,002.50 after trading between 2,001.50 and 2,019.14 on volume of 369.7 million shares.

Among the actives, Samsung Heavy Industries shed 3.73 percent, while Hyundai Steel dropped 3.77 percent, Doosan Engine plummeted 8.83 percent and SK Networks spiked 5.31 percent.

The lead from Wall Street provides little clarity as stocks showed a lack of direction on Monday, with traders reluctant to make any significant moves ahead of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy meeting on Tuesday. Lingering uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets contributed to the choppy trading.

Traders were also looking ahead to reports on retail sales, industrial production, and producer and consumer price inflation, which are all due to be released later in the week.

Some negative sentiment was generated by the release of a report showing that China recorded its biggest trade deficit since at least 1989 in February.

Adding to the cautious sentiment, data showed on Monday that Italy slid back into recession as gross domestic product declined 0.7 percent from a quarter ago, larger than the 0.2 percent drop recorded in the third quarter.

Among individual stocks, shares of Zoll Medical (ZOLL) surged 23.8 percent after the company agreed to be acquired by Japan's Asahi Kasei for about $2.2 billion or $93 per share. The offer represents a 24 percent premium to Zoll's closing price last Friday.

PepsiCo (PEP) also ended the day higher after announcing that former Sam's Club CEO Brian Cornell has rejoined the company as CEO of PepsiCo Americas Foods.

The major averages eventually ended the session mixed, with the tech-heavy NASDAQ easing 4.68 points or 0.2 percent to finish at 2,983.66. The Dow rose 37.69 points or 0.3 percent to end at 12,959.71 and the S&P 500 crept up 0.22 points or less than 0.1 percent to 1,371.09.

On the corporate front, AMD Korea has signed an agreement with Korean game developer SOFTMAX to provide technical collaboration for its new game title, The War of Genesis IV: Spiral Genesis. Under deal, AMD will provide high-performance graphics through its gaming evolved program for the game.

by RTT Staff Writer

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