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Steady Start Tipped For South Korea Bourse

The South Korea stock market has finished lower in two straight sessions, sinking almost 40 points or 1.3 percent along the way. The KOSPI now rests just above the 3,070-point plateau and it's looking at a steady start on Wednesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed and flat, with oil and technology stocks likely to continue to weigh. The European and U.S. markets were mixed and little changed and the Asian bourses figure to follow that lead.

The KOSPI finished modestly lower on Tuesday as losses from the technology stocks were mitigated by support from the financials and oil companies.

For the day, the index shed 9.66 points or 0.31 percent to finish at 3,070.09 after trading between 3,035.46 and 3,094.29. Volume was 2.2 billion shares worth 17.3 trillion won. There were 563 gainers and 300 decliners.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial advanced 0.92 percent, while KB Financial gathered 1.39 percent, Hana Financial collected 0.69 percent, Samsung Electronics fell 0.24 percent, LG Electronics plummeted 5.122 percent, SK Hynix climbed 1.47 percent, Samsung SDI retreated 1.94 percent, LG Chem plunged 3.38 percent, Lotte Chemical skyrocketed 7.96 percent, S-Oil spiked 4.16 percent, SK Innovation rose 0.18 percent, POSCO soared 4.29 percent, SK Telecom shed 0.40 percent, KEPCO dropped 0.84 percent, Hyundai Motor accelerated 1.24 percent and Kia Motors tumbled 1.62 percent.

The lead from Wall Street suggests a hint of support as stocks staged a recovery after opening sharply lower on Tuesday as the Dow and S&P managed to pick into positive territory.

The Dow added 15.66 points or 0.05 percent to finish at 31,537.35, while the NASDAQ fell 67.85 points or 0.50 percent to end at 13,465.20 and the S&P 500 rose 4.87 points or 0.13 percent to close at 3,881.37.

The early sell-off on Wall Street reflected concerns about the outlook for inflation and the potential for higher interest rates due to the recent increase in bond yields. The yields on ten-year notes and thirty-year bonds reached their highest intraday levels since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic earlier in the day.

However, selling pressure waned after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's remarks before the Senate Banking Committee. Powell reiterated interest rates will remain at near-zero levels and the Fed will continue its asset purchases at the current rate until "substantial further progress" has been made toward its goals of maximum employment and price stability.

In U.S. economic news, the Conference Board said consumer confidence has improved more than expected in February.

Crude oil prices ended slightly lower on Tuesday after surging in the previous session. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended down $0.03 at $61.67 a barrel.

Closer to home, the Bank of Korea said this morning that business conditions deteriorated slightly in February with a Business Survey Index score of 82 - down from 85 in January. The outlook for the following month rose by 4 points to 85, the bank said. Seasonally adjusted, the index score and outlook both came in at 83.

In the non-manufacturing sector, the BSI on business conditions for February 2021 was 72, up 2 points from the previous month, and that for the outlook for the following month also rose by 3 points to 73.

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