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Bargain Hunting May Lift South Korea Stock Market

The South Korea stock market has fallen lower in four consecutive trading days, sliding almost 30 points or 1.2 percent in that span. The KOSPI now rests just above the 2,175-point plateau although it may find traction on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed and flat, with trade concerns offset by bargain hunting. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were little changed and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.

The KOSPI finished sharply lower on Friday following losses from the technology stocks and steel companies, although the financials saw mild upside.

For the day, the index tumbled 26.37 points or 1.20 percent to finish at 2,177.05 after trading between 2,171.96 and 2,192.48. Volume was 386.23 million shares worth 5.63 trillion won. There were 492 decliners and 340 gainers.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial collected 0.34 percent, while KB Financial added 0.10 percent, Hana Financial rose 0.12 percent, Samsung Electronics tumbled 3.03 percent, LG Electronics skidded 1.67 percent, LG Display dropped 1.57 percent, SK hynix plunged 4.17 percent, KEPCO gained 0.45 percent, SK Telecom advanced 0.58 percent, POSCO plummeted 4.35 percent, Hyundai Steel contracted 2.92 percent, Hyundai Engineering and Construction sank 1.08 percent, Hyundai Motor shed 0.40 percent and Kia Motors perked 0.83 percent.

The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks fell under pressure early on Friday but recovered later in the day to end mixed and little changed.

The Dow shed 63.20 points or 0.25 percent to 25,106.33, while the NASDAQ added 9.85 points or 0.14 percent to 7,298.20 and the S&P 500 rose 1.83 points or 0.07 percent to 2,707.88. For the week, the Dow added 0.2 percent, and the NASDAQ and S&P both gained 0.1 percent.

The early weakness on Wall Street came amid lingering concerns about a potential trade deal between the U.S. and China. Adding to worries, reports suggested the U.S. and China don't even have a draft that specifies where they disagree.

Bargain hunting triggered the recovery later in the session as investors scooped up some of the oversold shares.

Crude oil prices settled slightly higher on Friday, despite concerns about possible drop in energy demand in the near term due to global economic slowdown. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for March ended up $0.08 or 0.2 percent at $52.72 a barrel.

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