RTTNews - The South Korean stock market on Tuesday halted the two-day winning streak in which it had dropped more than 56 points or 3.7 percent in the process. The KOSPI was able to regain the 1,385-point plateau at the close after breaking 1,400 intraday, and now investors are looking for further gains when the market kicks off trade on Wednesday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mildly positive, following some modestly optimistic economic and corporate news out of the United States and Europe. Financials and commodities are tipped to lead the move, although lagging crude oil prices may continue to weigh. The European markets finished sharply higher, while the U.S. bourses ended with more modest gains - and the Asian markets are also forecast to move higher.
The KOSPI finished modestly higher on Tuesday, thanks to a surge among the financial and steel stocks - although the gains were pared by weakness among the shipping stocks. For the day, the index added 7.44 points or 0.54 percent to close at 1,385.56 after trading between 1,377.60 and 1,402.00.
Among the gainers, KB Financial Group gained 2.58 percent, while Shinhan Financial Group surged 3.34 percent, Hyundai Hysco was up 13.19 percent, POSCO gained 2.3 percent, Samsung Electronics rose 2.3 percent and Hynix Semiconductor added 3.9 percent.
Finishing lower, OCI Co shed 8.7 percent, Samsung Digital Imaging fell 15 percent and STX Offshore & Shipbuilding lost 3.79 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is cautiously optimistic as stocks were unable to sustain any clear direction for the majority of the Tuesday's session following an influx of earnings and economic figures, but some late buying interest helped the markets to a positive finish. The major averages all finished in the green by moderate margins, extending their gains for a second straight session.
On the economic front, a report released by the Commerce Department revealed that retail sales increased by a little more than expected in the month of June, although the sales growth was due in large part to higher gasoline prices. The report showed that retail sales rose 0.6 percent in June following an unrevised 0.5 percent increase in May. Economists had been expecting retail sales to increase by a somewhat more modest 0.4 percent. However, after excluding increases in gas station and motor vehicle and parts sales, retail sales actually fell 0.2 percent for the month.
In a separate report, the U.S. Labor Department revealed that producer prices, a key measure of wholesale inflation, rose 1.8 percent in June. This followed a 0.2 percent increase in the previous month. Core producer prices, which exclude food and energy prices, climbed 0.5 percent.
On the earnings front, traders largely shrugged off better than expected earnings from Goldman Sachs (GS), with some suggesting that the news was already priced in following the rally among financial stocks that was seen on Monday. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) also beat earnings expectations but saw subdued reaction amid the day's low trading volume.
The major averages saw modest upside in late day trading and were able to creep into positive territory. The Dow closed up by 27.81 points or 0.3 percent at 8,359.49, the NASDAQ advanced by 6.52 points or 0.4 percent to 1,799.73 and the S&P 500 rose by 4.79 or 0.5 percent to 905.84.
In economic news, South Korea will on Wednesday announce the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June. Analysts are predicting that the rate will creep up to 4.1 percent from 3.9 percent in May.
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