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Stocks forecast to extend gains

Korean stocks are forecast to gather further momentum to set a new record high this week as the market brushes off global woes like Japan’s massive quake and Middle East political unrest, analysts said.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index ended this week 66.97 points, or 3.26 percent, higher to 2,121.01 on Friday from a week earlier, marking the highest closing ever for the local key index. The total market cap also reached a record high of 1,189.47 trillion won ($1.09 trillion) on Friday.

The previous high was 2,115.69 recorded on Jan. 19.

This week’s big gains came on the back of subsiding jitters over the fallout from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and political protests in the Middle East region.

The local market is likely to add further gains this week as foreign investors are expected to continue to increase holdings of local shares on reviving global risk appetites although there is a chance that the bourse could undergo a correction, analysts said.

“The market now has powerful upward momentum given it showed sharp V-shaped gains following recent global woes,” Daewoo Securities’ analyst Lee Seung-woo said. “Although the market could face some corrections, it is likely to rise further or settle at the 2,100 level.”

As the first-quarter earnings report season nears, the key index may be led by sectors with favorable earnings results, analysts also pointed out.

“The overall market mood is still positive,” said Seo Dong-pin, an analyst at Hana Daetoo Securities. “Investors are advised to pay attention to companies with optimistic earnings forecast.” 

(Yonhap News)
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