The South Korea stock market on Wednesday snapped the two-day slide in which it had fallen more than 25 points or 0.7 percent. The KOSPI now sits just beneath the 3,150-point plateau and it may add to its winnings on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is murky, with upside limited by political uncertainty and falling oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were mixed and little changed and the Asian bourses figure to follow that lead.
The KOSPI finished modestly higher on Wednesday following gains from the financial shares and technology stocks and mixed performances from the industrials and oil and chemical companies.
For the day, the index gained 22.34 points or 0.71 percent to finish 3,148.29 after trading between 3,109.63 and 3,164.37. Volume was 1.56 billion shares worth 24 trillion won. There were 626 gainers and 225 decliners.
Among the actives, Shinhan Financial rallied 3.32 percent, while KB Financial collected 2.38 percent, Hana Financial jumped 2.68 percent, Samsung Electronics dropped 0.99 percent, LG Electronics gained 1.08 percent, SK Hynix spiked 3.10 percent, Samsung SDI climbed 1.21 percent, LG Chem accelerated 3.95 percent, Lotte Chemical declined 1.28 percent, S-Oil soared 4.26 percent, SK Innovation retreated 1.23 percent, POSCO perked 2.35 percent, SK Telecom added 0.59 percent, KEPCO tumbled 1.72 percent, Hyundai Motor sank 0.77 percent and Kia Motors advanced 2.85 percent.
The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks bounced back and forth across the unchanged line on Wednesday, finally ending mixed.
The Dow eased 8.22 points or 0.03 percent to finish at 31,060.47, while the NASDAQ added 56.52 points or 0.43 percent to end at 13,128.95 and the S&P 500 rose 8.65 points or 0.23 percent to close at 3,809.84.
The higher close by the NASDAQ and the S&P came as treasuries rebounded following recent weakness, leading to a drop in bond yields and contributed to significant strength among interest rate sensitive stocks like utilities and properties.
Buying interest was subdued as political uncertainty kept some traders on the sidelines as House Democrats impeached President Donald Trump for a second time over allegations that he incited last week’s violent attack on the U.S. Capitol building.
In economic news, the Labor Department said U.S. consumer prices increased in line with estimates last month. Also, the Federal Reserve released its Beige Book, which said economic activity has increased modestly.
Crude oil futures fell on Wednesday as concerns about the outlook for energy demand amid the continued rise in coronavirus cases and tighter restrictions on movements hurt oil prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February sank $0.30 or 0.6 percent at $52.91 a barrel.
Closer to home, the Bank of Korea said this morning that export prices were down 5.4 percent on year in December, after sinking 4.6 percent in November. On a monthly basis, export prices fell 0.1 percent after slipping 0.5 percent in the previous month.
Import prices tumbled an annual 10.2 percent last month after sinking 10.3 percent in November. They were up 1.8 percent on month following the flat reading a month earlier.
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