Plus   Neg

South Korea Shares May Turn Lower Again

The South Korea stock market has tracked higher in two of three trading days since the end of the four-day losing streak in which it had tumbled more than 80 points or 3.3 percent. The KOSPI now rests just above the 2,430-point plateau although it may head south again on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is negative after U.S. Donald Trump officially imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports - while tumbling crude oil prices add to the soft sentiment. The European and U.S. markets were up, but the Asian markets are expected to head lower.

The KOSPI finished sharply higher on Thursday following gains from the industrials and technology stocks.

For the day, the index advanced 31.26 points or 1.30 percent to finish at the daily high of 2,433.08 after moving as low as 2,407.59. Volume was 390 million shares worth 8.87 trillion won.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial collected 0.90 percent, while Woori Bank was unchanged, Samsung Electronics jumped 1.19 percent, SK hynix climbed 0.97 percent, Naver added 0.50 percent, POSCO spiked 3.02 percent, Hyundai Steel soared 3.15 percent, Hyundai Motor perked 1.31 percent, Kia Motors picked up 0.60 percent, Daewoo Shipbuilding advanced 2.09 percent and Hyundai Heavy surged 5.47 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is firm as stocks fluctuated on Thursday, bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before closing in positive territory.

The Dow added 93.85 points or 0.38 percent to 24,895.21, while the NASDAQ gained 31.30 points or 0.42 percent and the S&P 500 was up 12.17 points or 0.45 percent to 2,738.97.

The higher close came after Trump officially signed proclamations imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The choppy trading also came as traders looked ahead to the release of the Labor Department's closely watched monthly jobs report later today - which may have a bearing on the FOMC's interest rate forecast.

Ahead of the monthly report, the Labor Department reported a bigger than expected rebound in initial jobless claims in the week ended March 3.

Traders also digested the European Central Bank's latest monetary policy decision, with the ECB leaving rates unchanged, as expected. The ECB's accompanying statement removed a phrase indicating a willingness to increase its asset purchase program if necessary.

Crude oil futures tumbled Thursday on fears that the U.S. dollar will strengthen on rising interest rates. April WTI oil was down $1.03 or 1.7 percent to settle at $60.12/bbl, the lowest in three weeks.

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