South Korean stocks are expected to move sideways next week as concerns about lackluster corporate earnings and China's slowing economy could dent investor sentiment, with eyes trained on ongoing trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing, analysts said Saturday.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index closed at 2,124.28 points on Friday, marking a 2.3 percent surge from a week earlier.
The index started on a weak note as the prolonged US government shutdown and concerns over the slowing Chinese economy sapped appetite for riskier assets.
But China's announcement of stimulus measures and rising hope for eased trade tension between the United States and China provided some relief to the local stock market. The South Korean economy is heavily dependent on exports to China and the US.
Auto shares rallied after the government on Thursday announced an ambitious plan to produce 6.2 million hydrogen-fueled vehicles by 2040. Hyundai Motor is a global leader in the development of fuel cell electric vehicles powered by hydrogen.
Financial and logistics shares were the top gainers of the week, while bio, electricity and gas struggled.
In the coming week, analysts said investors will await a mixed bag of economic data at home and abroad, as well as fourth-quarter earnings by major companies, including top automaker Hyundai Motor and chip giant SK hynix.
"Investors may pin hopes on fresh stimulus measures announced by Washington and Beijing, keeping an eye on trade negotiations between the world's two largest economies," Kim Byung-yeon, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities, said. "Weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings by major companies could put a lid on the KOSPI in the coming week."
China and South Korea will release their fourth-quarter gross domestic product growth on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. The Bank of Korea holds its rate-setting meeting on Friday. (Yonhap)