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Tech Shares May Boost South Korea Stock Market

The South Korea stock market has ticked higher in two straight sessions, gathering almost a dozen points or 0.3 percent along the way. The KOSPI now rests just above the 3,235-point plateau and it may inch higher again on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed to higher, with support from oil and technology stocks offset by ongoing Covid-19 concerns. The European markets were up and the U.S. bourses were mixed and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The KOSPI finished slightly higher on Wednesday as gains from the financials and oil companies were offset by weakness from the automobile producers.

For the day, the index added 4.33 points or 0.13 percent to finish at 3,236.86 after trading between 3,210.90 and 3,243.21. Volume was 857 million shares worth 11.7 trillion won. There were 590 decliners and 253 gainers.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial soared 3.39 percent, while KB Financial collected 0.77 percent, Hana Financial climbed 1.36 percent, Samsung Electronics advanced 0.89 percent, LG Electronics increased 0.61 percent, SK Hynix tumbled 1.72 percent, Naver tanked 2.21 percent, Lotte Chemical gained 0.56 percent, S-Oil accelerated 2.64 percent, SK Innovation added 0.58 percent, POSCO perked 0.82 percent, SK Telecom rallied 2.30 percent, KEPCO improved 0.81 percent, Hyundai Motor skidded 1.11 percent, Kia Motors fell 0.35 percent and LG Chem was unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is schizophrenic as the major averages opened slightly higher on Wednesday before the NASDAQ moved higher, the Dow moved lower and the S&P straddled the line.

The Dow dropped 127.59 points or 0.36 percent to finish at 34,930.93, while the NASDAQ climbed 102.01 points or 0.70 percent to end at 14,762.58 and the S&P 500 eased 0.82 points or 0.02 percent to close at 4,400.64.

The mixed picture on Wall Street came as technology stocks advanced, riding on strong results from Apple Inc, Alphabet and Microsoft.

The Federal Open Market Committee, which concluded its two-day monetary policy meeting Wednesday afternoon, left the target range for its federal funds rate unchanged at 0 to 0.25 percent as expected, and said it will continue with its $120 billion-a-month bond-buying program.

The bank, which said the economy is strengthening despite concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, added that risks to the economic outlook remain.

Crude oil prices moved higher Wednesday, lifted by data showing a larger-than-expected drop in U.S. crude inventories last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for September ended up $0.74 or 1 percent at $72.39 a barrel.

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