The winning streak has hit five sessions for the South Korean stock market, which has collected 100 points or 8.5 percent in the process. The KOSPI broke through resistance at 1,300 points intraday, but failed to close above that plateau - and investors are expecting a significant pullback at the opening of trade on Tuesday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is negative as investors are expected to lock in profits from recent winning streaks ahead of the opening of corporate earning season - which kicks off this week. Some other disappointing news out of the corporate world added to the negative sentiment, which prompted the European and U.S. markets to finish firmly in the red - and the Asian bourses are tipped to follow that lead.
The KOSPI finished sharply higher again on Monday, lifted by gains among the financials and the shipbuilders - although a mixed performance from the automobile producers and technology stocks served to limit the gains.
For the day, the index added 14.10 points or 1.10 percent to close at 1,297.85 after trading between 1,292.42 and 1,315.30. Volume was 719.1 million shares worth 7.75 trillion won, with gainers outpacing losers 597 to 224.
Among the gainers, Hynix Semiconductor soared 12.30 percent, while LG Display advanced 2.97 percent, Samsung Electronics was up 0.17 percent, Hyundai Motor gained 0.98 percent, Ssangyong Motor rose 2.72 percent, KB Financial Group added 0.26 percent, Shinhan Financial gained 2.94 percent, Woori Finance advanced 4.72 percent, SK Holdings was up 0.42 percent, Hyundai Heavy Industries advanced 3.55 percent, Samsung Heavy Industries gained 3.33 percent and Daewoo Shipping rose 4.04 percent.
Bucking the trend, LG Electronics lost 1.52 percent and Kia Motor was down 0.52 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is pessimistic as stocks regained some ground over the course of afternoon trading on Monday, but they remained mostly negative after trending lower throughout much of the morning. The major averages all ended the day lower after closing higher in the four previous sessions. The notable decline seen in morning trading came as traders cashed in some of the recent gains amid some disappointing corporate news and negative analyst comments.
Sun Microsystems (JAVA) helped to lead the technology sector lower after media reports said that acquisition talks between IBM (IBM) and Sun have collapsed, putting the deal at risk of failure. The reports said that Sun's board rejected a formal acquisition offer by IBM on Saturday, sending a notice terminating Sun's deal to hold talks exclusively with IBM. In response, IBM reportedly withdrew its offer to acquire Sun on Sunday.
Additionally, bank stocks saw notable weakness in reaction to negative comments from veteran banking analyst Mike Mayo, who recently left Deutsche Bank AG to join Calyon Securities. Mayo initiated coverage of several banks with either Sell or Underperform ratings, citing concerns about increased loan losses and the belief that government actions might not help as much as expected.
In other news, the U.S. Treasury Department has extended the deadline for applications to its public-private initiative to buy up distressed assets from banks. The deadline has been pushed out two weeks until April 24. The treasury's program allows fund managers to participate with the government in an initiative aimed at taking distressed assets off the balance sheets of banks. These assets have become nearly impossible to sell since the financial turmoil that set in last year, forcing banks to announce huge write-offs and putting the overall financial system in jeopardy.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama told Turkish lawmakers Monday that he stood behind their bid to join the European Union. The president also stressed that the U.S. remains a friend to the Muslim world, even as the country fights Islamic terrorism.
The major averages showed a notable upward move going into the close but still ended the day in the red. The Dow closed down 41.74 points or 0.5 percent at 7,975.85, the NASDAQ closed down 15.16 points or 0.9 percent at 1,606.71 and the S&P 500 closed down 7.02 points or 0.8 percent at 835.48.
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