Tech Shares May Weigh On South Korea Stock Market

The South Korea stock market on Thursday ended the two-day winning streak in which it had climbed more than 45 points or 1.5 percent. The KOSPI now rests just above the 2,976-point plateau and it may take further damage on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed to lower, with oil and technology stocks likely to drag the markets to the downside. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourses were down and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The KOSPI finished modestly lower on Thursday following losses from the chemical companies and automobile producers, while the technology stocks offered support and the financials were mixed.

For the day, the index shed 10.39 points or 0.35 percent to finish at 2,962.09 after trading between 2,958.39 and 2,982.14. Volume was 597 million shares worth 11.3 trillion won. There were 449 decliners and 412 gainers.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial shed 0.75 percent, while KB Financial collected 0.65 percent, Hana Financial gained 0.75 percent, Samsung Electronics skidded 1.27 percent, LG Electronics soared 6.20 percent, SK Hynix advanced 0.78 percent, Naver improved 0.72 percent, LG Chem tumbled 2.33 percent, Lotte Chemical dipped 0.22 percent, S-Oil retreated 1.04 percent, SK Innovation strengthened 0.76 percent, POSCO perked 0.33 percent, SK Telecom rose 0.36 percent, KEPCO climbed 1.15 percent, Hyundai Motor sank 0.71 percent, Kia Motors slid 0.24 percent and Hyundai Mobis plunged 2.67 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is negative as the major averages opened higher on Thursday but gradually faded into the red as the day progressed.

The Dow dropped 176.70 points or 0.49 percent to finish at 36,113.62, while the NASDAQ plummeted 381.58 points or 2.51 percent to end at 14,806.58 and the S&P 500 sank 67.32 points or 1.42 percent to close at 4,659.03.

The sharp pullback by the NASDAQ came as traders cashed in on recent strength in the tech sector. Tech stocks got off to a rocky start in the New Year amid concerns about higher interest rates but regained some ground earlier this week.

Traders were also digesting another reading on U.S. inflation, with a report from the Labor Department showing only a slight uptick in U.S. producer prices last month. A separate report from the Labor Department showed an increase in initial jobless claims last week.

Crude oil prices gave ground on Thursday as investors cashed in on recent gains that led to a two-month closing high. West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery slid $0.52 or 0.6 percent to $82.12 a barrel after jumping $1.42 or 1.7 percent to $82.64 a barrel in the previous session.

Closer to home, the Bank of Korea will conclude its monetary policy meeting this morning and then announce its decision on interest rates. The BOK is forecast to hike its benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points, from 1.00 percent to 1.25 percent.

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