Seoul shares may gain ground this week: analysts

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Feb 2, 2014 - 20:03
  • Updated : Feb 2, 2014 - 20:03
The South Korean stock market may gain ground this week on investors’ belief that concerns about financial jitters in emerging countries may have limited impact on Korea, analysts said Saturday.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index finished at 1,941.15 this week, down 0.6 percent from a week earlier.

The KOSPI lost ground this week as investors were rattled by market uneasiness in Argentina over tapering of U.S. quantitative easing. Foreign investors sold a net 860 billion won ($803 million) worth of local stocks.

The Seoul government has been saying that the Federal Reserve’s cutback of its stimulus and slowing economic growth of China have been causing financial instability in developing nations. Such developments can affect local stock prices.

Policymakers, however, stressed that South Korea will not be directly affected by the tapering, because of its strong economic fundamentals. Officials said repeatedly that Seoul has set up contingency plans it will pursue aggressively to stabilize the market in the event of any problems.

The Fed on Thursday (Seoul time) announced a further $10 billion cut in its monthly purchases of U.S. Treasuries and mortgage bonds for February. The cut was taken to reflect the underlying strength of the world’s largest economy and has been predicted by most market experts.

The move follows an announcement in December in which the United States said it would be cutting the amount of money injected into the market from $85 billion to $75 billion for January. It had said more stimulus cuts were planned for 2014.

“The Fed’s move has for the most part been reflected in the market so its effect will be minimal,” said Lee Chang-mok, a senior analyst at Woori Investment & Securities Co. He said that while there is a chance that the KOSPI will struggle in the first quarter due to a poor earnings showing and foreign exchange concerns, things may start looking up in the near future.

Reflecting this sentiment, other analysts said that the KOSPI may gain ground next week, led by big caps, as worries over problems in emerging markets spilling over into Korea subside.

“Large caps, which underwent sharp declines this week, may lead the market’s rise next week,” said Lee Jung-min, an analyst at KDB Daewoo Securities Co.

But others said that the KOSPI may trade in a tight range as concerns about corporate earnings persist.

“There are no leads in the market as corporate earnings are not solid overall,” said Bae Sung-young, a market analyst at Hyundai Securities Co. “The KOSPI may trade in a narrow range for the time being.” (Yonhap)