South Korea May Extend Winning Streak

The South Korea stock market has ticked higher in consecutive trading days, gathering more than a dozen points or 0.4 percent along the way. The KOSPI now rests just above the 3,125-point plateau and it may inch higher again on Tuesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests mild upside, supported mainly by crude oil prices. The European markets were up and the U.S. bourses were mixed and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The KOSPI finished barely higher on Monday following gains from the financials, technology stocks and chemical companies.

For the day, the index added 2.10 points or 0.07 percent to finish at 3,127.86 after trading between 3,109.01 and 3,139.13. Volume was 718 million shares worth 13.3 trillion won. There were 579 gainers and 286 decliners.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial collected 0.52 percent, while KB Financial added 0.58 percent, Hana Financial gathered 1.15 percent, Samsung Electronics limbed 1.33 percent, LG Electronics tanked 2.39 percent, SK Hynix jumped 1.43 percent, Naver rallied shed 0.49 percent, LG Chem advanced 0.95 percent, Lotte Chemical soared 3.82 percent, S-Oil gained 0.70 percent, POSCO surged 4.17 percent, Hyundai Steel perked 1.31 percent, Hyundai Engineering declined 1.68 percent, SK Telecom retreated 1.47 percent, KEPCO rallied 2.14 percent, Hyundai Motor sank 0.73 percent, Kia Motors rose 0.12 percent, Hyundai Mobis dropped 0.93 percent and SK Innovation was unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is mixed as the major averages opened higher on Monday, although the NASDAQ quickly slipped into the red and finished that way. The Dow and the S&P went on to halt five-session slides.

The Dow jumped 261.91 points or 0.76 percent to finish at 34,869.63, while the NASDAQ dipped 9.91 points or 0.07 percent to close at 15,105.58 and the S&P 500 rose 10.15 points or 0.23 percent to end at 4,468.73.

The strength on Wall Street came as traders went bargain hunting following the downward move seen over the past several sessions.

However, the looming Federal Reserve meeting made traders reluctant to make significant moves, with the central bank potentially providing an update on the outlook for its asset purchase program.

The Fed's two-day monetary policy meeting is scheduled for next week, but recent signs of slowing economic momentum could lead the central bank to hold off on discussing tapering.

The price of crude oil showed a notable move to the upside during trading on Monday, reflecting lingering concerns about U.S. supply. After jumping $1.58 or 2.3 percent to $69.72 a barrel last Friday, crude for October delivery climbed $0.73 or 1 percent to $70.45 a barrel.

Closer to home, the Bank of Korea said this morning that export prices were up 18.6 percent on year in August, following the 17.4 percent increase in July. Import prices jumped an annual 21.6 percent, up from 19.5 percent in the previous month. On a monthly basis, export prices rose 1.0 percent and import prices gained 0.6 percent.

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