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Little Movement Seen For South Korea Shares

The South Korea stock market has finished higher in two straight sessions, gathering more than 20 points or 0.9 percent along the way. The KOSPI now rests just beneath the 2,400-point plateau and it figures to remain in that neighborhood again on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is fairly flat, although technology stocks may see further profit taking. The European and U.S. bourse were mixed but little changed on Friday and the Asian markets are tipped to follow suit.

The KOSPI finished barely higher on Friday as gains from the automobile producers and telecoms were offset by weakness from the oil and chemical companies - while the financial and technology stocks were mixed.

For the day, the index added 0.21 points or 0.01 percent to finish at 2,396.69 after trading between 2,374.00 and 2,397.56. Volume was 872 million shares worth 11.9 trillion won. There were 456 gainers and 377 decliners.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial fell 0.18 percent, while KB Financial dropped 1.07 percent, Hana Financial collected 1.26 percent, Samsung Electronics shed 0.34 percent, LG Electronics dropped 0.86 percent, SK Hynix spiked 2.35 percent, Samsung SDI eased 0.12 percent, LG Chem skidded 1.12 percent, Lotte Chemical tanked 2.64 percent, S-Oil sank 0.72 percent, SK Innovation plunged 2.53 percent, SK Telecom climbed 1.25 percent, KEPCO shed 0.25 percent, Hyundai Motors jumped 1.48 percent, Kia Motors added 0.36 percent and POSCO was unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks showed a lack of direction on Friday, bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before finishing mixed.

The Dow added 131.06 points or 0.48 percent to finish at 27,665.64, while the NASDAQ lost 66.05 points or 0.60 percent to end at 10,853.54 and the S&P 500 rose 1.78 points or 0.05 percent to close at 3,340.97. For the week, the Dow lost 1.7 percent, the NASDAQ sank 4.1 percent and the S&P fell 2.5 percent.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders were reluctant to make significant moves after the substantial volatility in the past several sessions.

Traders may also have been looking ahead to the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy decision scheduled for next Wednesday. The Fed is widely expected to leave rates at near-zero levels but could make tweaks to its accompanying statement. The central bank's latest economic projections may also attract some attention.

In economic news, the Labor Department said consumer prices increased more than anticipated in August, as did core CPI.

Crude oil prices were sluggish on Friday but managed to close slightly higher, weighed by worries about the outlook for energy demand due to a continued surge in coronavirus cases. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for October ended up $0.03 or 0.08 percent at $37.33 a barrel. WTI crude oil futures lost 6 percent for the week.

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