SEOUL: The South Korea stock market bounced higher again on Wednesday, one session after it had ended the three-day winning streak in which it had collected almost 15 points or 0.7 percent. The KOSPI now rests just beneath the 2,085-point plateau, and the market is looking at another firm open again on Thursday. The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat thanks to positive economic data, although stagnant crude oil prices may limit the upside. The European and U.S. markets were up, and the Asian markets figure to open in similar fashion.
The KOSPI finished modestly higher on Wednesday as gains from the technology stocks and automobile producers were capped by weakness from the financials and steel producers. Among the actives, Samsung Electronics added 0.37 percent, while LG Electronics jumped 0.97 percent, POSCO eased 0.18 percent, SK hynix skidded 1.14 percent, Hyundai Motor spiked 3.93 percent, Kia Motors jumped 0.95 percent, Naver gained 0.39 percent, Shinhan Financial tumbled 1.06 percent and S-Oil advanced 0.93 percent. The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks moved higher on Wednesday, extending gains to set fresh record closing highs.
The Dow added 107.45 points or 0.5 percent to 20,611.86, while the NASDAQ advanced 36.87 points or 0.6 percent to 5,819.44 and the S&P 500 rose 11.67 points or 0.5 percent to 2,349.25. The strength followed a slew of economic data, including a Commerce Department report showing stronger than expected retail sales growth in January. Also, the Labor Department said that consumer prices increased more than expected in January. Also, the Federal Reserve noted an unexpected drop in industrial production in January, while the National Association of Home Builders unexpectedly showed a continued decrease in homebuilder confidence in February. Crude oil prices inched lower Wednesday, holding in a stubborn trading range after government data confirmed U.S. inventories at record highs. WTI light sweet crude oil for March settled down 9 cents at $53.11.