Tech Shares May Lift South Korea Stock Market

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The South Korea stock market has climbed higher in back-to-back trading days, collecting more than a dozen points or 0.5 percent along the way. The KOSPI now rests just above the 2,540-point plateau and it may inch higher again on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is murky, with concerns over the outlook for interest rates offset by a surge in crude oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were mixed but little changed and the Asian markets figure to follow suit.

The KOSPI finished modestly higher on Wednesday as gains from the financial shares and technology stocks were capped by weakness from the automobile producers and a mixed picture from the steel companies.

For the day, the index picked up 9.81 points or 0.39 percent to finish at 2,540.51 after trading between 2,535.19 and 2,553.22. Volume was 254 million shares worth 4.7 trillion won. There were 475 decliners and 341 gainers.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial collected 0.63 percent, while Woori Bank soared 2.23 percent, Samsung Electronics climbed 1.23 percent, LG Electronics surged 3.23 percent, SK hynix spiked 2.12 percent, Hyundai Motor skidded 1.27 percent, Kia Motors tumbled 1.49 percent, POSCO added 0.16 percent and Hyundai Steel shed 0.36 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is inconclusive as stocks opened higher before fading later in the day to finish mixed - although the NASDAQ inched up to a new record closing high.

The NASDAQ added 4.88 points or 0.07 percent to 6,867.36, while the Dow shed 64.65 points or 0.27 percent to 23,526.18 and the S&P 500 eased 1.95 points or 0.08 percent to 2,597.08.

The choppy trading came as many traders looked to get a head start on Thursday's Thanksgiving Day holiday. Stocks continued to show a lack of direction following the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting.

The minutes said many participants thought that another near-term increase in interest rates was likely to be warranted if incoming information left the medium-term outlook broadly unchanged.

In economic news, the Labor Department reported a pullback in initial jobless claims in the week ended November 18, while the Commerce Department saw a surprise drop in durable goods orders in October. Also, the University of Michigan noted a surprising gain in its consumer sentiment index for November.

Crude oil futures rose sharply Wednesday after data showed a large drawdown of 6 million barrels. January West Texas Intermediate crude climbed $1.19 or 2.1 percent to $58.02 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTT Staff Writer

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