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Mild Upside Predicted For South Korea Stock Market

The South Korea stock market on Friday snapped the two-day slide in which it had stumbled almost 80 points or 2.6 percent. The KOSPI now rests just beneath the 3,110-point plateau and it may inch higher again on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests a touch of upside, with stimulus optimism tempered by inflation concerns. The European markets were slightly higher and the U.S. bourses were mixed and flat - and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The KOSPI finished modestly higher on Friday following gains from the automobile producers and mixed performances from the financials and technology stocks.

For the day, the index advanced 20.96 points or 0.68 percent to finish at 3,107.62 after trading between 3,040.28 and 3,109.67. Volume was 3.4 billion shares worth 19.4 trillion won. There were 555 decliners and 306 gainers.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial climbed 1.24 percent, while KB Financial shed 0.34 percent, Hana Financial collected 1.65 percent, Samsung Electronics gained 0.61 percent, LG Electronics tumbled 1.75 percent, SK Hynix surged 5.56 percent, Samsung SDI tanked 2.41 percent, LG Chem rose 0.21 percent, Lotte Chemical dropped 1.01 percent, S-Oil sank 0.82 percent, POSCO lost 0.57 percent, SK Telecom was up 0.20 percent, Hyundai Motor accelerated 2.76 percent, Kia Motors advanced 0.99 percent and KEPCO and SK Innovation were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is uninspired as stocks were unable to hold early gains on Friday, finishing on opposite sides of the unchanged line.

The Dow rose 1.02 points or 0.01 percent to finish at 31,494.32, while the NASDAQ added 9.11 points or 0.07 percent to end at 13,874.46 and the S&P 500 dipped 7.26 points or 0.19 percent to close at 3,906.71. For the week, the Dow rose 0.1 percent, the NASDAQ sank 1.6 percent and the S&P fell 0.7 percent.

Continued optimism about more fiscal stimulus fueled the early strength on Wall Street, as new Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. urged lawmakers to approve President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion relief package.

However, buying interest waned amid a jump in treasury yields, with the yield on the benchmark ten-year note reading its highest closing level in almost a year - spurring concerns for the outlook for interest rates amid potentially higher inflation.

In U.S. economic news, the National Association of Realtors reported another unexpected increase in U.S. existing home sales in January.

Crude oil prices drifted lower Friday as worries about supply disruptions eased after most of the oil companies in Texas prepared to resume production. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended lower by $1.28 or 2.1 percent at $59.24 a barrel.

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