Renewed Consolidation Called For KOSPI

The South Korean stock market on Friday wrote a finish to the three-day losing streak in which it had stumbled more than 50 points or 1.6 percent. The KOSPI now rests just above the 2,970-point plateau although it's likely to head south again on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is negative on renewed COVID-19 concerns and the resulting drop in crude oil prices. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were mixed and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The KOSPI finished modestly higher on Friday following gains from the financial shares and automobile producers, while the oil and technology stocks were mixed.

For the day, the index advanced 23.64 points or 0.80 percent to finish at 2,971.02 after trading between 2,948.07 and 2,974.64. Volume was 649 million shares worth 10.9 trillion won. There were 431 gainers and 403 decliners.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial collected 0.54 percent, while KB Financial spiked 1.61 percent, Hana Financial added 0.83 percent, Samsung Electronics climbed 1.42 percent, LG Electronics skyrocketed 8.98 percent, SK Hynix improved 1.36 percent, Naver sank 0.74 percent, Samsung SDI lost 0.79 percent, LG Chem tanked 2.32 percent, S-Oil rose 0.23 percent, SK Innovation dropped 0.92 percent, POSCO perked 1.46 percent, Hyundai Motor accelerated 2.20 percent, Kia Motors gained 0.84 percent and SK Telecom, KEPCO and Lotte Chemical were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is mixed as the Dow opened lower on Friday and stayed that way and the NASDAQ opened higher and closed at a record high. The S&P 500 opened slightly lower, bounced back and forth across the unchanged line and ended slightly in the red.

The Dow dropped 268.92 points or 0.75 percent to finish at 35,601.98, while the NASDAQ added 63.74 points or 0.40 percent to close at 16,057.44 and the S&P 500 eased 6.58 points or 0.14 percent to end at 4,697.96. For the week, the NASDAQ jumped 1.2 percent, the S&P rise 0.3 percent and the Dow lost 1.4 percent.

Renewed COVID-19 concerns weighed on cyclical stocks as a brutal fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across Europe. Austria has announced a full national COVID-19 lockdown starting today, while Germany has announced more restrictions on unvaccinated people.

The potential of more European countries reinstating full lockdowns sparked worries the pandemic could once again weigh down the global economy.

Meanwhile, the tech-heavy NASDAQ benefitted from continued strength among technology stocks following some upbeat earnings news from companies such as software firm Intuit (INTU) and cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks (PANW).

Crude oil prices plunged sharply on Friday amid rising concerns about the outlook for energy demand following a surge in COVID-19 cases and fresh restrictions in some European countries. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December settled at $75.94 a barrel, losing $2.47 or 3.2 percent.

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