The South Korea stock market on Wednesday snapped the two-day winning streak in which it had advanced almost 35 points or 1.3 percent. The KOSPI now rests just beneath the 2,475-point plateau although bargain hunting among the stocks may give it a slight boost on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian is flat to lower, thanks to concerns of violence in the Middle East and a decline in crude oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were mixed and little changed and the Asian markets figure to follow suit.
The KOSPI finished sharply lower on Wednesday following losses from the financial shares, technology stocks and steel companies, although the steel producers offered mild support.
For the day, the index plummeted 35.75 points or 1.42 percent to finish at 2,474.37 after trading between 2,474.29 and 2,510.47. Volume was 503 million shares worth 6.56 trillion won.
Among the actives, Woori Bank and Shinhan Financial both fell 0.31 percent, while Samsung Electronics tumbled 2.42 percent, SK hynix shed 0.51 percent, LG Electronics dipped 0.74 percent, Naver lost 0.84 percent, POSCO plummeted 3.48 percent, Hyundai Steel dropped 2.72 percent, Daewoo Engineering and Construction skidded 1.04 percent, Hyundai Motor added 0.31 percent and Kia Motors advanced 0.44 percent.
The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks turned in a lackluster performance on Wednesday, bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before ending mixed.
The NASDAQ added 14.16 points or 0.21 percent to 6,776.38, while the Dow shed 39.73 points or 0.16 percent to 24,140.91 and the S&P 500 fell 0.30 points or 0.01 percent to 2,629.27.
The choppy trading came as traders expressed uncertainty about the economic impact of the Republican tax reform plan.
Concerns about the possibility of violence in the Middle East also weighed on the markets as President Donald Trump announced he is officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In economic news, payroll processor ADP noted a slightly bigger than expected increase in private sector employment. Also, the Labor Department saw a significant increase in labor productivity in the third quarter.
Crude oil futures plunged Wednesday, extending recent losses after official data confirmed a huge build in U.S. gasoline supplies. WTI light sweet crude oil for January was down $1.66 or 2.9 percent to $55.96 a barrel.