RTTNews - The South Korean stock market headed right back to the upside one day after ending the winning streak that had reached four sessions and added more than 40 points or 2.5 percent on its way to a fresh 11-month closing high. The KOSPI regained the 1,560-point plateau, although the market could be in for some mild easing at the opening of trade on Friday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is cautious as many of the regional bourses are likely waiting on Friday's U.S. non-farm payroll data. Technology and steel stocks are expected to see some mild easing, along with the airlines and healthcare sectors. Modest support is predicted from retail stocks. European stocks finished slightly higher, while the U.S. markets ended firmly in the red - and the Asian markets are also projected to open lower.
The KOSPI finished modestly higher on Thursday, thanks to significant gains among the financials and construction firms - although the gains were pared by selling pressure among the technology shares and the automobile producers.
For the day, the index collected 5.57 points or 0.4 percent to close at 1,565.04 after trading between 1,546.50 and 1,572.17.
Among the gainers, Ssangyong Motor jumped by the daily limit of 15 percent, while KB Financial Group gained 2.4 percent, Shinhan Financial Group added 2.2 percent, GS Engineering & Construction was up 1.1 percent and Daelim Industrial rose 1.7 percent. Finishing lower, Samsung Electronics retreated 2.5 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is modestly negative as stocks surrendered early gains and posted moderate losses on Thursday, with traders doing some profit taking ahead of key employment data on tap for Friday. The major averages all finished in negative territory, further offsetting recent gains.
Initial upside in the equity markets came after a report from the Labor Department showed that first-time claims for unemployment benefits came in lower than expected in the week ended August 1, offsetting some of the recent concerns about the outlook for the labor market. The report showed that initial jobless claims fell to 550,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 588,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to edge down to 580,000 from the 584,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Nonetheless, buying interest waned not long after the open, and the major averages pulled back into negative territory. The downturn came as traders cashed in on recent gains ahead of Friday's monthly employment report.
On the earnings front, traders reacted to a mixed bag of quarterly results from Cisco Systems (CSCO), Sunoco (SUN), Comcast (CMCSA, CMCSK), News Corp. (NWS), DirecTV Group (DTV), among others, as earnings season winds to a close. During the earnings season, a majority of companies were able to beat bottom line estimates via cost cutting measures, but most fell short of revenue estimates as the recession dampened product and service demand in the calendar second quarter.
Traders also looked to a slew of monthly sales results from retailers such as Target (TGT), Walgreen Co. (WAG), BJ's Wholesale Club (BJ), JC Penney (JCP) and Saks (SKS).
The major average experienced choppy trading heading into the close, seeing little change after moving off of their worst levels of the day in mid-afternoon trading. The Dow closed down by 24.71 points or 0.3 percent at 9,256.26, the NASDAQ slipped by 19.89 points or 1 percent to 1,973.16, and the S&P 500 fell by 5.64 points or 0.6 percent to 997.08.
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