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Rebound Expected For South Korea Stock Market

The South Korea stock market on Thursday snapped the two-day winning streak in which it had surged more than 220 points or 14 percent. The KOSPI now rests just above the 1,685-point plateau although it figures to bounce higher again on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat on the expectation of massive stimulus relief for the coronavirus pandemic. The European and U.S. markets were up and the Asian bourses figure to follow suit.

The KOSPI finished sharply lower on Friday following losses from the technology stocks and industrials, while the financial sector offered support.

For the day, the index lost 18.52 points or 1.09 percent to finish at 1,686.24 after trading between 1,679.23 and 1,735.75. Volume was 982 million shares worth 12.2 trillion won. There were 698 decliners and 183 gainers.

Among the actives, KB Financial jumped 2.81 percent, while Hana Financial soared 3.30 percent, Samsung Electronics skidded 1.75 percent, LG Electronics advanced 1.03 percent, SK Hynix tumbled 4.50 percent, POSCO dropped 3.42 percent, SK Telecom fell 0.86 percent, KEPCO sank 2.13 percent, Hyundai Motors added 0.47 percent, Kia Motors dipped 0.40 percent and Shinhan Financial was unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is broadly positive as stocks opened higher on Thursday and extended gains as the session progressed.

The Dow surged 1,351.62 points or 6.38 percent to finish at 22,552.17, while the NASDAQ added 413.24 points or 5.60 percent to 7,797.54 and the S&P 500 jumped 154.51 points or 6.24 percent to 2,630.07.

The rally on Wall Street came even though the Labor Department reported that first-time claims for unemployment benefits soared last week, as large swaths of the U.S. economy were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Any negative sentiment also seems to have been offset by last night's news that the Senate finally voted to approve a massive $2 trillion stimulus package in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Republican Senate passed the bill unanimously and it now moves to the House, which is expected to pass the legislation later today and send it on to President Trump.

Crude oil prices declined sharply and closed lower for the first time in four sessions as concerns about outlook for energy demand weighed on the commodity. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for May ended down $1.89 or 7.7 percent at $22.60 a barrel.

Closer to home, the Bank of Korea said this morning consumer confidence tanked in March after its monthly index tumbled 18.5 points to a reading of 78.4 thanks to the coronavirus.

Consumer sentiment regarding current living standards was eight points lower than in February, at 83, and that concerning the future outlook for living standards was 10 points down, to 83.

Consumer sentiment related to future household income was 10 points lower than in February, at 87, and that concerning future household spending was 13 points lower than in the previous month, at 93.

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