RTTNews - The Korean market is trading weak on Monday, with lower commodity and oil prices hurting sentiment. With Wall Street ending on a dull note on Friday and cues from the Asia-Pacific region too not turning out to be any positive, the mood is quite cautious in the Korean market this morning. North Korea's plans to conduct more nuclear tests weigh in to a notable extent.
The benchmark index KOSPI opened at 1,428, slightly lower than its previous closing mark, and drifted down to 1,406 subsequently on fairly heavy selling in bank, automobile, technology and steel stocks. The index is currently trading at 1,414, down nearly 15 points from its previous close.
On Friday, the index, supported by gains posted by technology and pharmaceutical stocks, had finished modestly higher by 9.20 points or 0.65% at 1,429.
Today, technology stocks are mostly trading weak. Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics is down by 1.7%. LG Display LCD is trading 2.6% down and Hynix Semiconductor is trading lower by 0.7%. LG Electronics, however, is bucking the trend and is up by 1.2%.
Bank stocks Woori Finance and Korea Exchange Bank are down by 2.3% and 2%, respectively. Shinhan Financial is down by 1.1% and KB Financial is trading lower by 0.5%.
In the oil space, S-Oil is trading 1.5% down and SK Holding is down with a loss of 1.2%. Energy stock KEPCO is down by 2.3%. Steel makers Hyundai Steel and POSCO are also trading weak.
Among automobile stocks, Kia Motors is down by 1.2%, Ssangyong Motor is trading 1% down and Hyundai Motor is down with a 0.65% loss.
Shares of shipbuilders Hyundai Heavy Industries and Samsung Heavy Industries are trading sharply lower. Daewoo Shipbuilding is trading 0.7% up. STX Pan Ocean, the bulk carrier, is trading down 0.75%.
Telecom stocks KT Corp and SK Telecom are up by 1.6% and 1.2%, respectively. Airliners trade weak.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia is trading off its early lows. Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore are trading lower with modest losses. The Taiwan market is down sharply in the red, with its benchmark index trading lower by over 2%. New Zealand, Shanghai and Indonesia are trading in positive territory.
The stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region had ended Friday's session largely on the upside though most of them finished well off their day's highs as profit taking wiped off a significant portion of their gains.
Stocks finished on a mixed note amid thin volumes on Wall Street on Friday with participants not reacting any positively to some economic data. While the Nasdaq closed down 3.57 points or 0.2 percent at 1,858.80, the Dow closed up 28.34 points or 0.3 percent at 8,799.26 and the S&P 500 closed up 1.32 points or 0.1 percent at 946.21.
Major European markets closed on the downside. The German DAX Index finished down by 0.7 percent and the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.3 percent. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index also declined, finishing lower by 0.5 percent.
On Friday, crude oil finished lower despite recovering most of an early slump. Oil came under early pressure as OPEC lowered its demand forecast and moved off of a multi-month high. Light sweet crude oil finished at US$72.04, down 64 cents on the session. Oil hit as low as US$70.80 in early trading.
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