Seoul stocks expected to gain ground next week on foreign buying

SEOUL-- South Korean stocks are likely to continue upward movement next week as expected solid earnings reports for the first quarter are anticipated to boost foreign buying, analysts said Saturday.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 3,131.88 points Friday, up 0.61 percent from 3,112.8 points a week ago. The index fluctuated in the narrow 3,100-3,260-point band during the week.

The KOSPI rose for the sixth consecutive session Thursday, backed by strong foreign buying, but it took a mild breather Friday on increased valuation risk.

Foreigners bought a net 859 billion won on the local main bourse this week, spurred by a massive US$2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal in the United States. Institutions sold a net 2.11 trillion won on profit-taking during the same period.

Analysts forecast that local stocks will likely gather ground next week, backed by rosy hopes of robust quarterly earnings in the January-March period.

"The South Korean stock market is likely to rise above (last week's) band, helped by improved earnings forecasts and global increase in vaccinations," NH Investment & Securities analyst Kim Young-hwan said.

"Exporters to the United States are expected to perform strong, considering that the global economy in the second quarter is likely to rest on the U.S. economic rebound," he said.

On the downside, a flare-up in COVID-19 cases could weigh on the local financial market, brokerage analysts said.

South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases stood at 671 Friday after hitting a three-month high of 700 the previous day, with health authorities warning that the country may face a stronger wave of the pandemic.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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