RTTNews - The South Korean stock market has finished lower now in back-to-back sessions, easing 23 points or 1.6 percent in the process after alternating wins and losses through the last week. The KOSPI has fallen through support at 1,375 points, although analysts suggest that the market could recover that level at the opening of trade on Wednesday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is slightly positive, with the financial shares expected to stage a minor rally while the automobile producers may see some caution. Some lukewarm economic data out of the United States may slightly boost sentiment, as might commodities on a weaker greenback. The European markets were mixed, while the U.S. bourses ended generally higher - and the Asian markets are also expected to trade in mixed fashion.
The KOSPI finished sharply lower on Tuesday as profit taking in the afternoon more than erased solid gains from morning trade. Technology shares finished lower, while shipbuilding, construction and financial issues also ended in the red.
For the day, the index lost 21.46 points or 1.5 percent to close at 1,371.84 after trading between 1,371.52 and 1,410.00. Volume was 472.78 million shares worth 5.78 trillion won.
Among the decliners, Samsung Electronics was down 1.7 percent, while Hynix Semiconductor fell 5.5 percent, KB Financial Group fell 2.9 percent, Hyundai Engineering & Construction was down 0.5 percent, Korea Line fell 1 percent, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering fell 3.1 percent and POSCO was down 2.2 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is cautiously optimistic as stocks showed some life in afternoon trading on Tuesday, finishing largely on the upside after being plagued by choppy trading for much of the session. The NASDAQ and S&P 500 saw some strength on the day, while the Dow drifted lower just before the closing bell.
The U.S. Department of Treasury announced that 10 of the largest U.S. financial institutions borrowing money from the Treasury are planning on paying back their loans. Organizations such as JP Morgan Chase (JPM), U.S. Bancorp (USB) and Bank of New York Mellon (BK) will repay a total of $68 billion.
President Barack Obama praised the move, noting that the government has turned a profit from the first round of repayments. He also offered cautious optimism that the financial system is stabilizing. While Obama said that the announcement that banks are relying less on Treasury assistance is welcome news, he said it does not excuse the actions of the banks. The president also announced his intention to instate the pay as you go program, restricting the amount of money lawmakers can spend to only what they can save in other areas.
On the economic front, wholesale inventories fell by a little more than expected in the month of April, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Tuesday, with the report also showing a modest decrease in wholesale sales. The report showed that wholesale inventories fell 1.4 percent in April following a revised 1.8 percent decrease in March. Economists had expected inventories to decrease by about 1.1 percent compared to the 1.6 percent drop originally reported for the previous month.
Additionally, the Commerce Department said that wholesale sales edged down 0.4 percent in April after falling by a more significant 2.4 percent in March. Wholesale sales were down 19.5 percent compared to the same month a year ago.
In corporate news, bankrupt automaker Chrysler's planned asset sale to a group led by Italian automaker Fiat was thrown into uncertainty after a U.S. Supreme Court Justice issued a stay on the sale. The stay was sought by a group of Indiana pension funds.
General Motors Corp. (GMGMQ.PK) also announced that Edward Whitacre Jr., former chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AT&T (T) would become chairman of the new GM when the company is re-launched later this summer. Kent Kresa will continue to serve as interim chairman until the launch.
Stocks finished the day mostly higher, led by gains in the technology sector. The tech-heavy NASDAQ closed up by 17.73 points or 1 percent at 1,860.13 and the S&P 500 rose 3.29 points or 0.4 percent to 942.43, while the Dow slipped by 1.43 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 8,763.06.
In economic news, South Korea will on Wednesday announce April numbers for money supply and May figures for household debt and unemployment. Money supply is expected to climb 9.7 percent on year after the 11.1 percent annual expansion in March. Household debt came in at 392.7 trillion won in April, while the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is expected to climb from 3.7 percent to 3.8 percent.
Also, South Korea's producer prices fell 1.3 percent year-on-year in May, representing the first decline in almost seven years, the Bank of Korea announced on Tuesday. In April, the producer prices increased 1.5 percent annually, which was the slowest rise since September 2007, when prices were up 1 percent. Month-on-month, producer prices were down 0.8 percent in May compared to a 0.2 percent increase in April.
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