Seoul stocks expected to rebound next week on upbeat corporate earnings

SEOUL, South Korean stocks are expected to move upward next week as investors' sentiment is expected to be buoyed by robust corporate earnings, analysts said Saturday.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 3,147.86 points on Friday, down 1.2 percent from 3,186.1 points the previous week.

The KOSPI declined for the fourth straight session Friday as investors were in a wait-and-see mode ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve rate-setting meeting and the upcoming resumption of stock short selling here.

The Fed said Wednesday that it would not roll back its asset-buying programs despite the current "transitory" signs of inflation.

Foreigners sold a net 942 billion won (US$847 million) on the main local bourse this week, while individuals bought a net 2 trillion won. Institutions offloaded a net 801 billion won.

Analysts said the KOSPI is expected to make a rebound in the coming week on anticipation for robust first-quarter earnings reports. Leading shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries Co. and Kakao Corp., the operator of the country's top mobile messenger, plan to release their bottom line next week.

Eased market uncertainty over short selling, set to resume Monday, will also prop up investor sentiment, experts said.

The country's financial regulator plans to partially lift its ban on short selling of listed stocks starting next week, about 14 months after it imposed it to cope with a stock market rout triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Lifting a ban on short selling previously led to an increase in foreign stock buying," NH Investment & Securities analyst Noh Dong-kil said, noting that large caps are likely to benefit from the move.

Experts said a flare-up in COVID-19 cases and lingering political tensions between the U.S. and China could put downside pressure on the KOSPI.

South Korea reported 661 more COVID-19 cases Friday, including 642 local infections, raising the total caseload to 122,007, according to health authorities.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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