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Seoul stocks likely to advance next week on eased Fed, Ukraine woes

All News 10:00 March 19, 2022

By Chung Joo-won

SEOUL, March 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stock markets are expected to gain ground next week, as investors are likely to snap up oversold stocks amid eased uncertainty about the U.S. monetary policy and optimism for the Russia-Ukraine peace talks, analysts said Saturday.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 2,707.02 points Friday, down 1.72 percent from a week ago.

The key stock index started weak this week as investors turned cautious ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting. But the KOSPI had rallied since Wednesday, as the Fed's first key interest rate hike since 2018 was in line with market expectations.

The Fed raised the federal funds rate Wednesday by a quarter percentage point to 0.25-0.5 percent to tame inflation, after freezing borrowing costs at near zero since March 2020 to cushion the U.S. economy from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also signaled more aggressive monetary tightening, projecting six additional rate hikes this year to bring the benchmark rate to about 1.9 percent by year-end.

Seoul stocks likely to advance next week on eased Fed, Ukraine woes - 1

Analysts said Seoul stocks have room for further advance next week, as the local financial markets have already factored in major risk factors.

"The Fed's late rate hike eased uncertainty about its monetary policy in the short term," said Kiwoom Securities analyst Ahn Ye-ha.

Experts said the local stock market may be also buoyed next week by optimism about the fourth peace talks between Ukraine and Russia.

Investors are expected to focus on key economic data next week to gauge the economic impact of the Ukraine crisis.

South Korea's imports and exports data in the first 20 days of March will be released Monday.

South Korea's producers' price index for February is slated to be printed Wednesday, and the U.S. market purchasing managers' index will be due Thursday in Korea time.


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