The South Korea stock market has finished higher in three straight sessions, collecting almost 15 points or 0.6 percent along the way. The KOSPI now rests just beneath the 2,555-point plateau although it’s likely to run out of steam on Monday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is uninspired thanks to a continued surge in Covid-19 cases worldwide. The European markets were up and the U.S. bourses were down and the Asian markets are tipped to follow the latter lead.
The KOSPI finished slightly higher on Friday following gains from the chemical companies, weakness from the automobile producers and mixed performances from the financials and technology stocks.
For the day, the index added 6.08 points or 0.24 percent to finish at 2,553.50 after trading between 2,539.79 and 2,558.21. Volume was 1.1 billion shares worth 12.1 trillion won. There were 553 gainers and 267 decliners.
Among the actives, Shinhan Financial collected 0.75 percent, while KB Financial retreated 1.83 percent, Hana Financial dropped 0.84 percent, Samsung Electronics rose 0.15 percent, LG Electronics fell 0.45 percent, SK Hynix skidded 1.43 percent, Samsung SDI shed 0.58 percent, LG Chem gained 0.42 percent, Lotte Chemical spiked 1.95 percent, S-Oil gained 0.92 percent, POSCO perked 0.64 percent, SK Telecom dipped 0.22 percent, KEPCO advanced 0.71 percent, Hyundai Motor tumbled 1.67 percent, Kia Motors sank 1.19 percent and SK Innovation was unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street is soft as stocks opened lower on Friday and largely remained in the red, finishing firmly in negative territory.
The Dow shed 219.75 points or 0.75 percent to finish at 29,263.48, while the NASDAQ sank 49.74 points or 0.42 percent to end at 11,854.976 and the S&P 500 fell 24.33 points or 0.68 percent to close at 3,557.54. For the week, the Dow fell 0.7 percent, the NASDAQ rose 0.2 percent and the S&P fell 0.8 percent.
The weakness on Wall Street reflected concerns about the near-term economic outlook amid a continued spike in new coronavirus cases in the U.S. Data showed nearly 188,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, while the daily death toll topped 2,000 for the first time.
The continued surge in new cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S. has raised concerns new restrictions and lockdowns will dampen the economy recovery. While there continues to be upbeat news on the vaccine front, traders seem worried about an economic downturn leading up to the widespread distribution of a vaccine.
Adding to the economic uncertainty, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced a decision to allow five of the Federal Reserve’s nine emergency lending programs to expire at the end of the year.
Crude oil prices moved higher on Friday, lifted by optimism about a likely pick-up in energy demand once the Covid-19 vaccines get the nod from drug regulators. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December settled at $42.15 a barrel, gaining $0.41 or 1 percent on the expiration day. New front-month contract January WTI futures were up by $0.52 or 1.2 percent at $42.42 a barrel.
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