RTTNews - After opening flat, the Korean stock market is drifting down sharply on Monday, with traders indulging in some heavy selling in bank, oil and shipbuilding stocks. Cues from Wall Street are mixed and the mood across the Asia-Pacific region is cautious with a largely negative bias this morning.
The benchmark index KOSPI is currently trading at 1,587, down nearly 21 points, or 1.3%, from its previous close. On Friday, the KOSPI had ended up by 8.61 points, or 0.5%, at 1,607.94.
Bank stocks are down in the red with sharp losses. Woori Finance, Shinhan Financial and KB Financial are trading lower by 2.4%-3%, while Korea Exchange Bank is down with a loss of 1.3%.
Among shipbuilders, Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding are down by 2.2% and 2.4% respectively, while Samsung Heavy Industries is trading lower by 1.8%. Bulk carrier STX Pan Ocean, faring slightly better, is trading with a modest 0.8% loss.
Among automobile stocks, Kia Motor is up by 3.4%, while Ssangyong Motor and Hyundai Motor are exhibiting weakness. In the technology space, Hynix Semiconductor is trading firm with a sharp 2.4% gain. Samsung Electronics and LG Display LCD are trading flat, while LG Electronics is down by 1.3%.
Oil stocks SK Holdings and S-Oil are trading weak with notable losses. KEPCO is down by over 1%. In the steel space, Hyundai Steel is trading up by 4.4% even as POSCO is declining by about 2%. Airlines and telecommunications stocks are trading lower.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Shanghai is down sharply, with its benchmark Shanghai Composite Average plunging by as much as 4.8%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index is down by 2.17%. Indonesia and Singapore are also trading notably lower, and the Japanese market is down in the red after a buoyant start.
Australia and Taiwan have also faltered after opening higher. The New Zealand market is trading modestly higher. Stock markets across the region had closed mostly higher on Friday.
On Wall Street, stocks turned in a lackluster performance on Friday after an initial upward move and eventually ended the session on a mixed note.
Traders largely shrugged off the day's economic data, including a report from Reuters and the University of Michigan that showed their final consumer sentiment index reading for August came in at 65.7 compared to the mid-month reading of 63.2.
In a separate report, the Commerce Department said that personal income was nearly unchanged in July following a revised decrease of 1.1% in June. Economists had expected income to increase by 0.1% compared to the 1.3% drop originally reported for the previous month.
The Dow ended lower by 36.43 points, or 0.4%, at 9,544.20, the Nasdaq closed up by 1.04 points, or 0.1%, at 2,028.77 and the S&P 500 drifted down by 2.05 points, or 0.2%, to 1,028.93.
Major European markets also moved higher over the course of trading on Friday, with the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index advancing 1.2% and 0.9%, respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index closed up 0.8%.
Oil prices closed modestly higher on Friday, ending the session well off the highs for the session but still extending the upward move seen in the previous session. Despite the continued increase, oil remains well off the ten-month high set earlier in the week.
After surging to US$73.52 a barrel during the session, crude for October delivery gave up some gains and closed up US$0.24 at US$72.74 a barrel.
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