Seoul shares forecast to gain ground on Chinese hopes
SEOUL, March 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares are expected to trade slightly higher next week as investors are taking a brighter outlook over the Chinese economy on its possible economic stimulus move, analysts said Saturday.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 1,955.63 points on Friday, up 2 percent from a week earlier.
Earlier this week, investors sat on the sidelines ahead of policy-setting events, including China's annual policy gathering and the European Central Bank's meeting.
A rebound in global oil prices, however, gave the market a boost later in the week, while China's adjustment of its reserve-requirement ratio also added to investors' sentiments.
Foreigners also scooped up tech, chemicals firms and steelmakers, lending support to the market until it edged down on Friday as investors made profit-taking moves.
The market was closed on Tuesday for the 97th anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement. The Independence Movement on March 1, 1919 paved the way for Korea's independence from Japanese colonial rule, which lasted from 1910-45.
Analysts said Seoul shares are anticipated to trade higher this week amid the outlook that China will roll out a set of economic stimulus measures.
"The National People's Congress is expected to discuss the fiscal policies and stabilizations of the financial market," said Kim Hyung-rea, an analyst at KDB Daewoo Securities Co.
"The rising hope over Beijing's economic stimulus and expansion of restructuring is set to lend support to the stock market," Kim added.
Foreigners offloaded 1 trillion won (US$829 million) worth of local stocks this week, while individuals bought a net 800 billion won. Institutions scooped up a net 400 trillion won.
Construction and steel shares were among the winners, rising 6.4 percent and 5.6 percent each, while mobile carriers and food shares traded bearish this week by moving down 5.3 percent and 1.8 percent.