RTTNews - The Korean benchmark index KOSPI is having a choppy ride on Friday with participants not evincing any keen interest in picking up stocks despite positive cues from Wall Street. While a few front line stocks have come off their highs due to a lack of support, a lot many are trading weak right from the start this morning.

The benchmark index, which rebounded to 1,398 from an early low of 1,383, is currently trading at 1,392, down 3.52 points from its previous close.

On Thursday, the KOSPI had ended 30.15 points or 2.12% up at 1,392 as concerns about the threat from North Korea petered out and bargain hunting by institutional investors helped stocks across the board to post gains.

Automobile stocks are exhibiting a mixed trend with Ssangyong Motors and Hyundai Motor trading higher and Kia Motors losing ground.

Technology stocks Samsung Electronics, LD Display LCD and LG Electronics are trading weak. Hynix Semiconductor is down by around 0.8%.

Oil stocks SK Holdings and S-Oil are down by 1.3% and 1.2%, respectively. Energy stock KEPCO is trading lower by 1.75%. Not much buying is seen in the steel space as well. Sector majors Hyundai Steel and POSCO are currently down in the red.

Among bank stocks, Woori Finance is down by 1.3%, Shinhan Financial and KB Financial are trading down by over 3%. However, Korea Exchange Bank is bucking the trend, with a 3% gain.

Leading stocks from the shipbuilding sector, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding are trading sharply lower. Telecom and airline stocks are also exhibiting weakness.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Indonesia are trading firm with their key indices gaining between 0.75% and 1.25%. The Nikkei average of the Japanese stock market, which has drifted down after opening on a bright note, is currently up with a small gain of 6 points.

Stocks markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Thursday, although the markets in Hong Kong and Mainland China were closed.

On Wall Street, bolstered by the results of the $26.0 billion seven-year note auction conducted by the Treasury Department, stocks rebounded on Thursday. Earlier, a slower than expected pace of new home sales for April had resulted in some uncertain movements.

Crude oil settled above US$65 per barrel for the first time since November on Thursday after an Energy Information report showed a larger-than-expected decline in weekly inventories.

The Dow closed up 103.78 points or 1.3 percent at 8,403.80, the Nasdaq closed up 20.71 points or 1.2 percent at 1,751.79 and the S&P 500 closed up 13.77 points or 1.5 percent at 906.83.

Major European markets all closed firmly in negative territory. The French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index fell 1.0 and 1.4 percent, respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index also closed down 0.7 percent.

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