By Kim Seung-yeon
SEOUL, Aug. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks are expected to gather ground next week on the back of upbeat U.S. data and signs of an improving Chinese economy, analysts said.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed up 1.1 percent at 1,923.38 on Friday from the previous week.
The main index started off falling below the 1,900 mark on Monday on lack of fresh leads but gained momentum after the Bank of China said it will inject 17 billion yuan (US$2.77 billion) worth to avoid a liquidity crunch.
U.S. jobless claims that hit the lowest level in more than five years and the European Central Bank promising to continue its low-rate policy also drove up the KOSPI.
"Forecast-beating manufacturing data in the U.S. and China lent support to boosting investor sentiment," said Han Chi-hwan, an analyst at KDB Daewoo Securities Co.
Next week, the Seoul bourse will likely extend its winning streak as such optimistic economic data are expected to offset concerns about the Federal Reserve's reduction of the stimulus, analysts said.
"Signs of an improvement in employment and production in the two major economies bode well for a recovery in global demand," Han added.
Cyclical issues, such as material shares, and IT and auto shares are projected to gather ground. Steelmakers and shipyards are also worth betting on as they've been undervalued, according to analysts.
This week, foreigners scooped up a net 260 billion won, with institutions buying a net 330 billion won. But retail investors sold off a net 470 billion won on a yield play.
Medical equipment makers and logistics firms rose the most with 5.7 percent and 4 percent each, while textile and tech companies fell 2.1 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.