South Korean stocks are expected to move in a narrow range in the coming week amid concerns on poor quarterly earnings and the global economic slowdown, analysts said Saturday.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed on Friday at 1,906.75, down 0.88 percent, or 17.48 points, from one week ago.
Analysts anticipate that the benchmark index may move around the 1,900 level next week.
They said investor sentiment could be weighed down by concerns on quarterly earnings of South Korean companies following the shock in GS Engineering & Construction Corporation's first quarter earnings. South Korea's fourth-largest builder said it posted a net loss of 386 billion won (US$341 million) in the first three months of the year.
There are also concerns that South Korean carmakers could post poor first-quarter earnings due to a fast descent of the Japanese yen.
South Korea's largest carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. and other major local firms compete against Japanese rivals on the global stage and a weaker yen is feared to dent South Korean companies' price competitiveness, which in turn undermines their earnings.
"The South Korean stock market loses ground along with those of major countries as questions grow on whether the global economic recovery can persist," said Han Chi-hwan, an analyst at KDB Daewoo Securities Co.
Still, the issue of North Korea that has weighed down investor sentiment could subside ahead of summit talks between South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her U.S. counterpart Barack Obama on May 7.
Weekly foreign net-buying totaled 470 billion won and retail investors scooped up 78 billion won worth of shares. Meanwhile, institutions offloaded shares worth 520 billion won. (Yonhap)