RTTNews - The South Korean stock market has finished higher now in back-to-back trading sessions, collecting more than 17 points or 1.3 percent to hit its highest point so far this year. The KOSPI is closing on resistance at the 1,430-point plateau, although investors are not sanguine about the market's chances of breaking through at the opening of trade on Tuesday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is effectively flat with a touch of downside, ahead of the start of earnings season later this week. Technology shares are expected to see selling pressure, offsetting projected strength among the properties and chemical stocks. The European markets ended sharply lower, while the U.S. bourses finished in mixed fashion but near the unchanged line - and the Asian markets are predicted to follow the latter lead.
The KOSPI finished modestly higher on Monday, bucking the regional trend of decline as solid gains among the technology shares were offset by weakness in the financial and construction sectors. For the day, the index was up 8.9 points or 0.6 percent to close at 1,428.94 after trading between 1,416.20 and 1,434.31.
Among the actives, LG Electronics added 3.8 percent, while LG Display rose 0.9 percent, Samsung Engineering closed 1.8 percent higher, Hyundai Engineering & Construction fell 3.8 percent, GS Engineering & Construction was off 1 percent, KB Financial Group lost 2.1 percent and Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance dropped 2.7 percent.
Wall Street offers a mixed lead as stocks were able to shed most of their losses in late trading on Monday after a sharp move to the downside in early going. While the Dow and S&P 500 finished modestly higher, the tech-heavy NASDAQ closed on the downside.
On the economic front, traders largely shrugged off a report from the Institute for Supply Management showing that activity in the service sector contracted for the ninth consecutive month in June, although at a slower pace than economists had been expecting. The ISM said its index of activity in the service sector rose to 47.0 in June from 44.0 in May, but a reading below 50 indicates a contraction. Economists had been expecting the index to come in at 46.0.
On the corporate front, food and beverage giant PepsiCo Inc. (PEP), together with its bottling partner Pepsi Bottling Group Inc. (PBG), announced plans to invest $1 billion in Russia over three years. Meanwhile, EMC (EMC) raised its all-cash offer to acquire Data Domain (DDUP) to $33.50 per share for a total enterprise value of about $2.1 billion. EMC is competing with NetApp (NTAP) to acquire Data Domain.
Despite the major indices all moving higher going into the close, the NASDAQ was unable to break into positive territory. Subsequently, the NASDAQ finished down by 9.12 points or 0.5 percent at 1,787.40, while the Dow closed up by 44.13 points or 0.5 percent at 8,324.87 and the S&P 500 rose by 2.30 or 0.3 percent to 898.72.
In corporate news, Samsung Electronics said it expects operating profit for the April-June quarter to range from 2.2 trillion won or US$1.7 billion to 2.6 trillion won. It was the first time Samsung has offered earnings guidance ahead of its quarterly earnings release. Samsung is scheduled to announce results of its second-quarter earnings on July 24. Samsung also predicted sales for the second-quarter to total between 31 trillion won and 33 trillion won, without providing information on its outlook for net profit.
In the first-quarter of this year, Samsung's net profit plunged 72 percent from a year ago to 619 billion won on sales of 18.5 trillion won. First-quarter operating profit stood at 148 billion won, according to the company.
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