South Korea Stock Market Poised To Halt Losing Streak

The South Korean stock market has finished lower in back-to-back trading days, sinking almost 20 points or 0.7 percent along the way. The KOSPI now rests just beneath the 2,995-point plateau although it may stop the bleeding on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is flat to higher on easing treasury yield concerns and a rebound among technology stocks. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourses were mostly higher and the Asian markets figure to follow that lead.

The KOSPI finished slightly lower on Wednesday following losses from the industrials, gains from the financials and a mixed picture from the technology companies.

For the day, the index dipped 3.04 points or 0.10 percent to finish at 2,994.29 after trading between 2,981.02 and 3,017.90. Volume was 540 million shares worth 10.7 trillion won. There were 477 decliners and 373 gainers.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial climbed 1.21 percent, while KB Financial collected 0.88 percent, Hana Financial rallied 2.24 percent, Samsung Electronics shed 0.66 percent, LG Electronics increased 0.39 percent, SK Hynix added 0.42 percent, Naver skidded 1.25 percent, Lotte Chemical retreated 1.17 percent, S-Oil jumped 1.59 percent, SK Innovation slid 0.23 percent, POSCO tanked 2.09 percent, KEPCO lost 0.67 percent, Hyundai Motor declined 1.40 percent, Kia Motors fell 0.36 percent, Hyundai Mobis sank 0.41 percent and SK Telecom was unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is cautiously optimistic as the major averages opened sharply lower on Wednesday but clawed back as the day progressed, with the NASDAQ and S&P 500 managing to finish higher while the Dow ended barely in the red.

The Dow shed 9.42 points or 0.03 percent to finish at 35,804.38, while the NASDAQ jumped 70.09 points or 0.44 percent to close at 15,845.23 and the S&P 500 rose 10.76 points or 0.23 percent to end at 4,701.46.

The early weakness on Wall Street came amid a continued increase in U.S. treasury yields, with the yield on the benchmark ten-year note reaching its highest intraday level in six months. Yields showed a notable downturn over the course of the trading day, however, contributing to the rebound on Wall Street.

A Labor Department report showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits slid to their lowest level in over fifty years last week helped push yields higher.

Also, the Commerce Department noted an unexpected drop in durable goods orders but an increase in new home sales in October, while personal income and spending both increased by more than expected during the month.

Crude oil futures settled slightly lower on Wednesday after data showed a modest increase in U.S. crude stockpiles last week. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures ended down by $0.11 or 0.14 percent at $78.39 a barrel.

Closer to home, the Bank of Korea will wrap up its monetary policy meeting this morning and then announce its decision on interest rates. The central bank is expected to hike its benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points, from 0.75 percent to 1.00 percent.

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