Seoul shares likely to move up on steady foreign buying

By 신현희
  • Published : Apr 5, 2014 - 11:30
  • Updated : Apr 5, 2014 - 11:30

The South Korean stock market is likely to rise next week as foreign investors will be encouraged by solid economic data from home and abroad, analysts said Saturday.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index finished at 1,988.09 this week, up 0.64 percent from Monday despite North Korea's live-fire drill near the western sea border earlier. KOSPI surpassed the 2,000-point level at one point on Wednesday for the first time in three months.

A series of upbeat economic data in South Korea and the U.S. contributed to the rise. South Korea's March exports rose 5.2 percent on-year to $49.76 billion, and February current account surplus widened to $4.52 billion.

The U.S. manufacturing data also fueled optimism about a gradual recovery in the world's biggest economy, with its factory activity rising to 53.7 in March from 53.2 in February. China's official purchasing managers' index also gained to 50.3 in March from 50.2 in February. A reading above 50 indicates general expansion.

The U.S. employment report released late Friday said that March payrolls reached 192,000, up from 188,000 a month earlier, showing indication that recovery of the U.S. economy was on track.

"Thanks to the steady manufacturing data and the mini-stimulus, uncertainties about the Chinese economy faded away to some extent," said Jennifer Lee at KDB Daewoo Securities Co.

"The inflow of foreign investment will continue and keep boosting the Korean stock market next week."

Foreigners scooped up a net 1.3 trillion won ($1.23 billion) over the week, while institutions sold a net 700 billion won, and retailers dumped 600 billion won.

Analysts expect the Korean market to settle over the touted 2,000-point level next week as investors believe key data will not miss market expectations.

Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest handset maker, will report its first quarter earnings guidance on Tuesday. Analysts are betting on a modest rise in operating profit from the previous quarter.

China is set to unveil its trade balance for March on Thursday, with release of the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee minutes expected on the same day.

"If China's exports stay below the market consensus, the Beijing government is expected to roll out a stronger stimulus plan to boost the slowing economy instead of the mini package," said Lee. (Yonhap)