Asian Shares Choppy on First Trading Day of the Year

Markets in Asia see-sawed on January 2, the first day of trading in 2017. Trade was extremely thin due to the holiday mood. Kospi was almost flat at 2,026.16, only down by 0.3 points or 0.01 point. The Kosdaq gained 0.6 points or about 0.1 percent. The latter reached 632.04 at close after moving between positive and negative.

When it came to currencies, the Won of South Korea went weaker compared to the US dollar, trading at 1,207.25. This can be compared with 1,197.04 during the last week of December. Financial markets in other parts of Asia, like Hong Kong, Australia, China and Japan went on a break for New Year’s holiday.

Shares

Samsung Electronics went up by 0.17 percent post-speech of Kwon Oh-Hyun, its CEO, saying to employees during the company’s New Year speech that the company will insist on superior quality of its products. The Chief Executive asked employees to make an improvement to the manufacturing processes. He also asked for safety inspections. Profit margins and reputation of Samsung took a substantial hit after multiple reports of faulty batteries in its Note 7 model exploding. Samsung ultimately took the phone away from markets.

SK Innovation shares went up by 0.34 percent. This happened after an announcement by its president that the conglomerate will invest about three trillion won or about $2.49 billion dollars in battery, chemicals and oil exploration businesses. These activities are expected to provide a growth impetus in 2017.

US and Indian shares

December in 2016 went up for second consecutive month. This was an upside of about 6.4 percent year-on-year. Imports went up by 7.3 percent. This led to a trade surplus of approximately $7 billion. It added to the hopes of global trade witnessing an excellent turnaround. Exports to China from South Korea also went up by 9.6 percent. This happened even though the United States slid about 2.3 percent post a climb of 3.8 percent. The latter happened in November.

Indian shares went down by afternoon. There was a 0.44 percent drop in the Nifty 50. The Sensex Index also went down by 0.39 percent. The rupee was weak against the greenback, with the former exchanging hands at 68.02. India went through demonetization to reform its financial system. The move was targeted towards counterfeit notes and targeted black money. The move hit the Indian economy, especially poorer rural areas as these areas heavily use cash to transact businesses.

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