Bargain Hunting Expected To Boost South Korea Shares

The South Korea stock market has moved lower in two straight sessions, sinking almost 100 points or 4.1 percent to a fresh 19-month closing low. The KOSPI now rests just above the 2,310-point plateau although it should find traction on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed to higher, with bargain hunting expected to lift the oversold bourses - particularly among the technology shares. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were up and the Asian markets are tipped to follow the latter lead.

The KOSPI finished sharply lower on Thursday following losses from the heavy industrials and oil and chemical companies, while the financials and technology stocks were mixed.

For the day, the index sank 28.49 points or 1.22 percent to finish at 2,314.32 after trading between 2,306.48 and 2,361.23. Volume was 729.97 million shares worth 9.98 trillion won. There were 838 decliners and 77 gainers.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial plunged 3.33 percent, while KB Financial retreated 1.54 percent, Hana Financial rose 0.12 percent, Samsung Electronics fell 0.35 percent, Samsung SDI lost 0.74 percent, LG Electronics climbed 1.26 percent, SK Hynix declined 2.17 percent, Naver rallied 2.18 percent, LG Chem dipped 0.36 percent, Lotte Chemical surrendered 3.42 percent, S-Oil tanked 3.33 percent, SK Innovation cratered 4.56 percent, POSCO plunged 3.51 percent, Hyundai Steel slumped 2.62 percent, Hyundai Engineering & Construction dropped 5.19 percent, SK Telecom soared 3.08 percent, KEPCO tumbled 1.84 percent, Hyundai Motor eased 0.29 percent and Kia Motors climbed 1.05 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as the major averages opened higher on Thursday, swooned midday before accelerating higher into the close.

The Dow jumped 194.23 points or 0.64 percent to finish at 30,677.36, while the NASDAQ spiked 179.11 points or 1.62 percent to end at 11,232.19 and the S&P 500 gained 35.94 points or 0.95 percent to close at 3,795.73.

The markets continued to experience choppy trading as traders weighed going bargain hunting following recent weakness against the possibility of a global recession.

Traders kept an eye on Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, with the Fed chief reiterating his commitment to moving quickly to bring inflation back down. But the Fed's plans to aggressively raise interest rates to combat inflation has led to concerns tighter monetary policy will tip the economy into a recession.

In economic news, the Labor Department said first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits edged slightly lower last week.

Oil futures slid on Thursday, losing ground for a second straight session on concerns about outlook for energy demand amid rising possibility of a recession. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended lower by $1.92 or 1.8 percent at $104.27 a barrel.

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