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Seoul shares expected to remain sluggish next week

South Korean stocks are unlikely to to gain ground next week amid gloomy corporate estimates and looming signs of economic slowdown, analysts said Saturday.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 19.04 points, or 0.87 percent, to 2,196.09 on Friday, from 2,177.05 points a week ago.


The index rallied for the first four days of the week on rising expectations that a trade deal could be forged between Washington and Beijing.

It jumped nearly 25 points to hit a four-month high on Thursday following news reports that the White House may extend the tariff deadline on Chinese imports for 60 days.

But on Friday, it lost nearly 30 points, the sharpest daily loss in six weeks, as worse-than-expected economic data from the United States and China threw cold water on investor sentiment.

"Amid the ongoing trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies, companies see their future earnings as unlikely to turn around, with macro data continuing to show signs of a slowdown," Kim Hyung-ryeol from Kyobo Securities Co. said.

"Also, investors will be more cautious in their betting, as they want to wait for big events like the Trump-Xi meeting expected to be held next month," he added.

Next week, the U.S. Federal Reserve will disclose the minutes of January's rate-setting meeting, which will provide hints on the speed of its monetary normalization schedule.

Key monthly statistics, including new orders for U.S.-manufactured durable goods in December, will be released next week as well. (Yonhap)