South Korea Shares Expected To Remain Rangebound

(RTTNews) - The South Korea stock market has moved lower in two of three trading days since the end of the two-day winning streak in which it had advanced more than 40 points or 2 percent. The KOSPI now rests just above the 2,060-point plateau although it may tick higher again on Wednesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed to higher, due mainly to bargain hunting after heavy losses in recent sessions. 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 modestly lower on Tuesday as losses from the technology stocks and telecoms were mitigated by support from the financials and automobile producers.

For the day, the index slid 8.98 points or 0.43 percent to finish at 2,062.11 after trading between 2,054.26 and 2,074.31. Volume was 423.79 million shares worth 5.14 trillion won. There were 542 decliners and 294 gainers.

Among the actives, Samsung Electronics shed 0.64 percent, while LG Electronics plummeted 3.18 percent, SK hynix dropped 1.77 percent, Shinhan Financial collected 0.86 percent, KB Financial jumped 1.54 percent, KEPCO climbed 1.06 percent, SK Telecom skidded 2.53 percent, KT tumbled 2.57 percent, LG Chem plunged 3.27 percent, Hyundai Motor advanced 1.29 percent, Kia Motors spiked 1.81 percent and POSCO retreated 1.94 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is cautiously optimistic as stocks experienced substantial volatility on Tuesday, fluctuating wildly before closing in positive territory.

The Dow added 82.66 points or 0.35 percent to 23,675.64, while the NASDAQ gained 30.18 points or 0.45 percent to 6,783.91 and the S&P was up 0.22 points or 0.01 percent to 2,546.16.

The initial strength on Wall Street was partly due to bargain hunting, with traders picking up stocks at reduced levels on the heels of the sharp drop in the two previous sessions.

The subsequent volatility came as traders remained on edge ahead of Wednesday's Federal Reserve monetary policy announcement. With the Fed widely expected to raise interest rates by a quarter point, traders will closely scrutinize the central bank's accompanying statement and forecasts for clues about future rate hikes.

In economic news, the Commerce Department noted a substantial increase in U.S. housing starts in November, while building permits also surged.

Crude oil prices plunged sharply on Tuesday amid rising concerns about excess supply in the market. For the month of January, futures plummeted $3.64 or 7.3 percent to $46.24 per barrel.
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