The markets are closed now on this Wednesday, so it's time for a closer look at the action, and for that we're joined on the line by Dr. Hwang Seiwoon, research fellow at the Korea Capital Market Institute.
Dr. Hwang, thanks for coming on today.
On Wall Street, the S&P and the Nasdaq rose Tuesday to an all-time high thanks to generally strong earnings. The Dow up too, but still about 1 percent off a new record. Take us through the trade there and around the world.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rallied Tuesday to notch record closing highs as Wall Street cheered stronger-than-expected quarterly profits from some of the largest publicly traded U.S. companies. The S&P 500 closed 0.88% higher at 2,933, and the Nasdaq closed up 1.32% at 8,120.
Tuesday’s moves come less than six months after a sharp decline in late December, which led the S&P 500 to its worst annual performance since 2008. But stocks quickly turned around as the Federal Reserve reversed course on monetary policy while the tone around U.S.-China trade talks improved.
However, the Asian equity markets declined on Wednesday. The biggest regional loser was South Korea’s KOSPI, which was down 1.3 percent. Japan’s Nikkei stock index was 0.47 percent lower, and China’s Shanghai Composite dropped 0.92 percent.
We also have first quarter earnings here in Korea from big companies like Hyundai Motor, Posco and so on. But stocks down sharply. What did we find in those numbers and why the decline?
Large-cap stocks such as Hyundai Motor Company and POSCO reported the Q1 earnings today. Hyundai Motor Q1 operating income jumps up 21.1 percent on weaker won, SUVs sales. POSCO, South Korea's top steelmaker, reported its first-quarter earnings dropped 28 percent from a year earlier due to a slump in the steelmaking sector and a drop in steel prices.
Investors in Seoul also shrugged off the government’s proposed supplementary budget aimed in part at supporting exports, and worried after chipmaker Texas Instruments said it expects a slowdown in demand for microchips could last a few more quarters.
Airline stocks were among decliners as investors dumped the shares out of concerns over rising oil prices and the Korean won's weakness against the US dollar. National flag carrier Korean Air Lines fell 1.4 percent, and No. 2 carrier Asiana Airlines plunged 5.9 percent.
Now, let's talk exchange rates. The Korean won is at the weakest it's been so far this year at 11-50.9 to the U.S. dollar.
Alright, Dr. Hwang, that's where we'll have to leave it today. Thanks for your insights this afternoon.