Seoul stock market at 5.5 month high…

UPDATE: According to the Wall Street Journal, Friday was even better:

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index, or Kospi, gained 6.78 points, or 0.5%, to end at 1283.75. The index is up 3.7% on this week following last week’s 5.7% gain.

“Improving economic data and overnight gains in offshore markets lent support to the market, but Asian markets generally lagged U.S. and European peers as they needed to slow down after steep gains over a short period,” said Kim Hak-kyoon, an analyst at Korea Investment & Securities.

“But the upward march has not stopped and foreigners continued to show strong appetite for local stocks again today,” added Kim.

Meanwhile, market participants didn’t react much to news that North Korea may launch a rocket as early Saturday.

“Isn’t it the fact that North Korea will launch a rocket? The key to determine the mood in the financial market will be how South Korea and the U.S. will handle the case. So far market participants, in particular foreigners, don’t seem to worry too much about that,” said Kim at Korea Investment & Securities.

Market analysts continued to treat the potential missile launch as a short-term event to the financial market.
“North Korea’s main goal seems to be to push for a lifting of current sanctions and get economic aid flowing by showing off its ability to attack the mainland of the U.S.,” said You Seung-min, an analyst at Samsung Securities. “In reality any direct military clash seems to be unlikely….The stock market will likely return fast to its normal track after experiencing short-term volatility caused by the launch.”

ORIGINAL POST:Just the news I expected (sort of).  According to Reuters:

Meanwhile investors largely ignored news that North Korea had begun fueling a long-range rocket it plans to launch between April 4-8, starting a process that experts say means the rocket will be ready for lift-off in three to four days.

“Yes, the North will probably launch the missile, and that certainly can’t be good. But markets will probably bounce backafter a couple days as they always do…market participants have learned over time to remain calm to North Korea-related developments,” Lee added.

Read the full articles here:
S Korean Shares End Tad Up On Econ Recovery Hopes
Wall Street Journal
Soo-Kyung Seo
4/3/2009

Seoul shares hit 5-½ mth high;North news ignored
Reuters
Jungyoun Park
4/1/2009

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