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Seoul shares likely to move up on eased uncertainties

The South Korean stock market is likely to edge up next week on eased uncertainty on the U.S. Federal Reserve's next moves, but the gains will be limited due to underperforming earnings results of local firms, analysts said Saturday.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) moved up 25.03 points, or 1.32 percent, from the previous week to close at 1,925.69 on Friday.

Seoul shares started off strong on Monday and remained above the 1,900 level after having fallen below the mark during the previous week's session. The rise, however, was only temporary and soon lost its uptrend the next day.

On Wednesday, positive data from the United States where the rate of jobless aid applications fell to a 14-year low helped the KOSPI rebound, but the index again slid for the remainder of the week following weak third-quarter outlooks for some industry leaders, including market behemoth Samsung Electronics Co.

Market experts see the KOSPI moving upward next week on the back of abated uncertainties about outcomes from the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), slated for Thursday. 

"It is unlikely that we'll see any hawkish stance during the FOMC at the end of this month, and with the abated uncertainty regarding the U.S. government's next moves, the KOSPI may bounce back," said Kim Hyung-rea, a market analyst at KDB Daewoo Securities Co.

Also, should the European Central Bank (ECB) decide to buy company bonds to pump cash into the sluggish EU economy, it will be a "positive trigger" for the stock market.

Although the ECB denied rumors that it is considering buying corporate bonds to boost liquidity, analysts have said it would be an option for the central bank if it wants to trigger growth.

However, Kim said the growth will be restricted despite those favorable conditions, noting the KOSPI will likely be hindered by weak local corporate earnings results and may struggle to surpass the 1,960 ceiling next week.

"As the listed companies on the local market, consisting mostly of cyclical stocks, disclose sluggish bottom lines, the upswing of the KOSPI is likely to be somewhat limited," Kim said.

Weekly foreign selling came to 274.14 billion won, while individual investors purchased a net 35.69 billion won.

Institutions scooped up a net 217.85 billion won.

Textiles and financials were gainers this week, climbing 7.6 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively, and nonmetallic minerals also advanced 4.2 percent. Banks shed 3.2 percent, and chemicals edged down 0.2 percent. (Yonhap)

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