South Korean stocks are likely to trade in a tight range next week, affected by lackluster corporate earnings and continuous selling by foreign investors, analysts said Saturday.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 2,030.16 on Friday, falling 15.80 points, or 0.77 percent, from a week earlier.
The index was mostly driven by corporate earnings announced for large-cap shares throughout this week, while the local currency's descent against the U.S. dollar helped boost car companies.
Pharm companies tumbled following results that failed to beat market expectations, while tech issues, including Samsung Electronics, dropped on unimpressive earnings. In particular, Internet portal operator Naver tumbled nearly 14 percent on Thursday.
Carmakers benefited from the won's descent against the dollar this week as they boosted the outlook for their exports. Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors gained ground.
Analysts expected the market will remain volatile next week as small- and mid-sized companies are set to announce their earnings, which are expected to be no better than what was unveiled this week.
"The KOSPI will likely move in a tight range next week with lack of market momentum coupled with downward revision to earnings," said Ko Seung-hee, an analyst at KDB Daewoo Securities Co.
"Foreigners will not show any meaningful buying trend either amid lingering uncertainty over the U.S. Fed policy (on interest rates) and growing risks from emerging markets," the analyst added.
This week, the Federal Open Market Committee wrapped up its two-day policy meeting, issuing a statement that fell short of providing any definitive clues as to the timing of a rate hike.
Major events that will draw investor attention include the U.S. ISM index, a major gauge of manufacturing activity scheduled for Monday, along with the latest job data to be unveiled later next week, which could help assess the current state of the world's largest economy, experts said.