RTTNews - The South Korean stock market has finished higher now in back-to-back sessions, collecting more than 50 points or 3.5 percent in the process. The KOSPI regained the 1,430-point plateau on Wednesday, but now investors are expecting the market to ease modestly at the opening of trade on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is slightly negative on fresh concerns that the worldwide economic slowdown may last longer than originally thought - which could put the financials under pressure. The price of crude oil rose back above $62 to a six-month high, which is expected to provide support for the commodity plays. The European markets provide a positive lead, while the U.S. markets all ended modestly in the red - and the Asian markets are also projected to trend lower.
The KOSPI finished slightly higher on Wednesday, as gains among the technology stocks and the financials was enough to nudge the market into positive territory.
For the day, the index added 7.49 points or 0.5 percent to close at 1,435.70 after trading between 1,424.60 and 1,436.92. Volume was 690.4 million shares worth 6.64 trillion won. There were 419 gainers and 380 decliners.
Among the gainers, NHN was up 5.4 percent, while Samsung Electronics advanced 1.1 percent, Shinhan Financial Group rose 1.07 percent, Hana Financial Group was up 0.2 percent, POSCO was down 0.12 percent, Hyundai Steel fell 2.2 percent, LG Corp advanced 2.9 percent and Samsung Techwin gained 5.3 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is modestly pessimistic as stocks finished Wednesday's trading session modestly lower, unable to sustain earlier gains. The major averages all slipped into negative territory in mid-afternoon dealing, closing just off of their worst levels of the day. Trading this week has been largely subdued as many traders sat on the sidelines following considerable profit taking last week, prompted by the run up in equities in recent months.
Traders digested the latest minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee released earlier this afternoon, which revealed some debate within the policymaking arm of the Federal Reserve over whether or not to purchase additional treasury securities. Although the final decision was to stick with the $300 billion agreed on at the March meeting, in late April some officials thought that purchasing more could spur recovery. While there was some debate over whether or not additional purchases would be needed, officials agreed that such a purchase was not warranted at that time.
Earlier, traders heard comments from treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner who issued cautious optimism regarding the recovery of the embattled financial sector, while Bank of America (BAC) was able to raise a substantial amount of capital, further bolstering prospects for the industry. The day's trading was also impacted by better-than-expected earnings from Target (TGT) and Deere (DE).
In other news, the House of Representatives passed a landmark credit card industry reform bill Wednesday afternoon, sending legislation designed to crack down on the credit card industry to President Barack Obama. The 361-64 vote sends the bill Obama's desk and he is expected to sign it as early as Friday.
The major averages all closed slightly lower a late day selloff dragged the indices into negative territory. The Dow closed lower by 52.81 points or 0.62 percent to finish at 8422.04, while the NASDAQ was down 6.70 points or 0.39 percent to end at 1727.84, and the S&P 500 slipped by 4.66 points or 0.51 percent to finish at 903.47.
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