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Mild Consolidation Seen For South Korea Shares

The South Korea stock market headed south again on Monday, one session after ending the two-day slide in which it had tumbled almost 70 points or 2.3 percent. The KOSPI now rests just above the 2,925-point plateau and it's expected to open under pressure again on Tuesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is negative on concerns over the outlook for interest rates. 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 lower on Monday as losses from the technology stocks, oil companies and industrials were tempered by strong support from the financial sector.

For the day, the index dropped 28.17 points or 0.95 percent to finish at 2,926.72 after trading between 2,910.90 and 2,951.12. Volume was 470 million shares worth 10.2 trillion won. There were 615 decliners and 259 gainers.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial rallied 2.39 percent, while KB Financial soared 3.77 percent, Hana Financial surged 4.49 percent, Samsung Electronics shed 0.38 percent, LG Electronics plummeted 5.45 percent, SK Hynix tumbled 1.97 percent, Naver dropped 0.89 percent, Samsung SDI slumped 1.89 percent, LG Chem skidded 1.25 percent, Lotte Chemical sank 0.86 percent, S-Oil declined 0.41 percent, SK Innovation retreated 0.40 percent, POSCO fell 0.33 percent, SK Telecom rose 0.18 percent, KEPCO lost 0.69 percent, Hyundai Motor tanked 2.56 percent and Kia Motors plunged 3.34 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is mostly soft as the major averages opened sharply lower on Monday. They showed improvement as the session progressed, with the NASDAQ creeping up over the unchanged line.

The Dow dropped 162.79 points or 0.45 percent to finish at 36,068.87, while the NASDAQ rose 6.93 points or 0.05 percent to close at 14,942.83 and the S&P 500 dipped 6.74 points or 0.14 percent to end at 4,670.29.

The early weakness on Wall Street reflected lingering concerns about the economic impact of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and the likelihood the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in the near future.

Treasury yields have moved sharply higher in recent sessions, with the yield on the benchmark ten-year note reaching its highest levels since January of 2020.

The jump in yields comes amid a more hawkish tone from the Fed after the minutes of the central bank's latest meeting indicated plans to accelerate monetary policy normalization.

Crude oil prices drifted lower Monday on concerns about the outlook for energy demand due to the rapid surge in the Omicron variant of the coronavirus across the globe. A firm dollar amid rising prospects for a series of interest rate hikes weighed as well on crude oil prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude futures for February slipped $0.67 or 0.9 percent at $78.23 a barrel.

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