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South Korea Stock Market May Extend Monday's Losses

The South Korea stock market has finished lower in two of three trading days since the end of the two-day winning streak in which it had gathered almost 35 points or 1.7 percent. The KOSPI now rests just above the 2,075-point plateau and it may take further damage on Tuesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is murky ahead of U.S. midterm elections later today as weakness from oil and technology stocks will likely cap any upside. The European and U.S. markets were mixed and little changed and the Asian bourses figure to open in similar fashion.

The KOSPI finished modestly lower on Monday following losses from the financial shares, technology stocks and industrial issues.

For the day, the index dropped 19.08 points or 0.91 percent to finish at 2,076.92 after trading between 2,052.67 and 2,080.49. Volume was 353.46 million shares worth 4.83 trillion won. There were 546 decliners and 297 gainers.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial lost 0.81 percent, while KB Financial fell 0.82 percent, Woori Bank dropped 1.26 percent, Hana Financial retreated 2.66 percent, Samsung Electronics shed 0.97 percent, LG Electronics added 0.60 percent, LG Display declined 2.01 percent, SK hynix skidded 2.89 percent, SK Telecom spiked 2.33 percent, KEPCO climbed 1.88 percent, POSCO tumbled 3.28 percent, Hyundai Motor plummeted 5.45 percent and Kia Motors plunged 4.23 percent.

The lead from Wall Street provides little clarity as stocks moved in opposite directions on Monday, with the Dow and the S&P 500 adding to last week's strong gains but the tech-heavy NASDAQ extending the sharp pullback seen last Friday.

The Dow added 190.87 points or 0.76 percent to 25,461.70, while the NASDAQ fell 28.14 points or 0.38 percent to 7,328.85 and the S&P 500 gained 15.25 points or 0.56 percent to 2,738.31.

A notable drop by Apple (AAPL) weighed on the NASDAQ after a report from Japan's Nikkei newspaper said demand for the company's iPhone XR appears to be disappointing.

Overall trading was subdued, with traders reluctant to make significant moves ahead of today's midterm elections, which will decide control of both the House and Senate. Democrats are seen as having a better chance to claim a majority in the House, which would allow them to hinder President Donald Trump's agenda.

The Federal Reserve's looming monetary policy announcement on Thursday also kept traders on the sidelines. While the Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, traders will keep a close eye on the accompanying statement for clues about an expected rate hike in December.

Crude oil futures eased Monday, after having moved up earlier in the day as U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil and came into force. Crude oil futures for December ended down $0.04 or less than 0.1 percent at $63.10 a barrel.

Closer to home, South Korea will see September figures for its current account later this morning; in August, the account registered a surplus of $8.44 billion.

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