South Korea Bourse May Extend Thursday's Gains

(RTTNews) - The South Korea stock market has finished higher in two of three trading days since the end of the three-day slide in which it had stumbled more than 20 points or 1 percent. The KOSPI now rests just beneath the 2,040-point plateau and it may add to its winnings on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests mild upside, mostly on bargain hunting among the oversold regional bourses. The European and U.S. markets were slightly higher and the Asian markets are tipped to follow that lead.

The KOSPI finished modestly higher on Thursday following gains from the technology stocks and industrials, while the financials came in mixed.

For the day, the index advanced 15.48 points or 0.77 percent to finish at 2,038.80 after trading between 2,023.91 and 2,040.66. Volume was 444.80 million shares worth 4.83 trillion won. There were 424 gainers and 398 decliners.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial skidded 1.09 percent, while KB Financial dropped 1.11 percent, Hana Financial collected 0.95 percent, Samsung Electronics jumped 1.79 percent, LG Electronics spiked 1.82 percent, LG Display added 0.61 percent, Samsung SDI surged 4.91 percent, SK hynix shed 0.30 percent, POSCO perked 1.27 percent, SK Telecom lost 0.79 percent, KEPCO advanced 1.01 percent, Hyundai Motor climbed 1.12 percent and Kia Motors advanced 0.73 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is cautiously optimistic as stocks fluctuated on Thursday, with the major averages bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before ending in the green.

The Dow added 43.47 points or 0.17 percent to finish at 25,169.88, while the NASDAQ gained 20.41 points or 0.27 percent to 7,567.72 and the S&P rose 5.85 points or 0.21 percent to 2,788.87.

The early strength on Wall Street reflected bargain hunting following recent weakness, with the Dow bouncing off its lowest closing level in three months. An early rebound by treasury yields also contributed to the upward move.

But buying interest waned as traders seemed reluctant to get back into the markets due to lingering concerns about the U.S.-China trade dispute.

In economic news, the Labor Department noted a modest uptick in first-time claims for U.S. jobless benefits last week. Also, the Commerce Department said U.S. economic growth in the first quarter gained less than estimated. And the National Association of Realtors said pending home sales unexpectedly pulled back in April.

Crude oil prices plummeted on Thursday on rising worries about a likely drop in energy demand due to the ongoing trade spat between the U.S. and China. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for July ended down $2.22 or 3.8 percent at $56.59 a barrel, the lowest settlement since early March.

Closer to home, the Bank of Korea will wrap up its monetary policy meeting this morning and then announce its decision on interest rates; the bank is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate steady at 1.75 percent.

South Korea also will see April data for industrial production and retail sales. In March, output was up 1.4 percent on month and down 2.8 percent on year, while retail sales added 3.3 percent on month and 2.4 percent on year.

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