The Korean benchmark index KOSPI rebounded after an early setback and despite suffering another fall subsequently, has edged higher once again amid a moderate degree of volatility. The benchmark, which had drifted down to 1,335 earlier, is currently trading at 1,340, up 0.63 points over its previous close.
Automobile, oil, bank and technology stocks are trading mixed. Shares of Airliners and shipbuilders are trading weak.
Among automobile stocks, Kia Motors and Ssangyong Motor are down by 1.4% and 2.2%, respectively. Hyundai Motor is up 0.6%. Tech stock Hynix Semiconductor is down nearly 4%. Among other tech majors, LG Display LCD is down with a loss of 1.5%, while LG Electronics is up marginally.
While Korean Airline is trading 2% down, Asiana Air Line is down with a loss of over 3%. Among oil stocks, SK Holdings is down marginally, while S-Oil is up with a modest gain.
Steel stocks Hyundai Steel and POSCO are down with marginal losses. Energy stock KEPCO is trading firm with a gain of over 3%.
Among bank stocks, Korean Exchange Bank is down 0.9%. Woori Finance and Shinhan Financial are up 0.5% and 1%, respectively. and KB Financial, the holding firm of Kookmin Bank, is up marginally.
Heavyweight stock Samsung Electronics is down by around half a per cent. Shibuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries is down by over 2%. Daewoo Shipbuilding is trading 1.7% down. Samsung Heavy Industries is also trading weak. Among telecom stocks, SK Telecom is up 1.1% while KT Corp is trading with a gain of 0.4%.
Among the other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, New Zealand and Japan have rebounded into positive zone after a weak start. The Hong Kong market opened higher and is trading firm at present, with the benchmark Hang Seng index recording a gain of over 175 points or 1.2%.
Concerns over the economic impact of the swine flu kept Wall Street in negative terrain for the major part of the session on Monday. Healthcare stocks were seen attracting buyers.
Qualcomm announced it has entered into a settlement and multi-year patent agreement with Broadcom, which will result in the dismissal with prejudice of all litigation between the companies.
While Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer for Johnson Illington Advisors told RTTNews that traders used the swine flu scare as an excuse to take some money off the table, he warned that a full blown epidemic could lead to a 10 to 15 percent correction.
Although the flu does seem to be spreading, many doctors agree that the swine flu is no more panic worthy than any other breakout of the human flu during flu season.
President Barack Obama said Monday that the spreading swine flu is something that should raise the country's state of alert but should not be seen as a cause for alarm.
On the corporate front, Verizon reported first-quarter net income of $0.58 per share, compared to $0.57 per share in the year-ago period. Excluding special items, net income attributable to Verizon was $0.63 per share, compared to $0.61 per share in same quarter last year. On average, analysts expected the company to report earnings of $0.59 per share.
Whirlpool Corp. reported first quarter earnings of $0.91 per share, compared to $1.22 per share in the prior-year quarter. The company reported net sales of $3.57 billion, down from $4.61 billion in the year-ago period.
General Motors announced plans to restructure its operations in order to avoid the pitfalls of bankruptcy and the stock gained as much as 20%, its biggest single-session advance in more than a month. The company announced that it will cut 21,000 hourly jobs and reduce its U.S. dealer count by 42 percent by the end of 2010 under a revised viability plan. The company also plans to phase out its Pontiac brand and focus on its four core brands in the U.S.
Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region closed mostly lower on Monday amid concerns about the impact of the swine flu outbreak. The Japanese market bucked the downtrend, however, with the Nikkei 255 Index edging up 0.2 percent.
Major European markets closed mixed. While the French CAC 40 Index closed down slightly, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index posted gains of 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.
Trading on Tuesday could be impacted by the release of the S&P/Case-Shiller Composite Housing Index. Additionally, the Conference Board's consumer confidence index is also expected to be released.
On the earnings front, Pfizer, Office Depot, U.S. Steel and Bristol-Myers Squibb will report on Tuesday.
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