RTTNews - The Korean stock market is exhibiting a mixed trend on Thursday with traders treading a cautious route on weak economic data from U.S. and on a subdued display by most of the markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Korean benchmark index KOSPI, which fell to 1,398.36 in early trading, has edged up to 1,404.63 but is still down in the red with a modest loss of 10.26 points or 0.73%. The KOSPI had ended at 1,414.89 on Wednesday, posting a small gain of 2.04 points.

Technology stocks are currently trading firm, with LG Display LCD and LG Electronics gaining 4.3% and 2% respectively. Samsung Electronics is up by 0.75% and Hynix Semiconductor is trading higher by 0.4%.

Bank stocks are struggling today. KB Financial is down 3.75% and Korea Exchange Bank is trading lower by 3%. Woori Finance and Shinhan Financial are trailing their previous levels by 2.8% and 2.5% respectively.

In the automobile space, Hyundai Motors is up sharply by 4.6% and Kia Motors is up 1.25% over its previous close. Ssangyong Motor, however, is down in the red with a modest loss.

Oil issues SK Holdings and S-Oil are exhibiting weakness, while energy stock KEPCO is up with a modest gain. Among steel stocks, Hyundai Steel is up 1.3% while POSCO is down by 3%.

Among shipbuilders, Hyundai Heavy Industries and Samsung Heavy Industries are down by 3.1% and 2.35% respectively. Daewoo Shipbuilding is trading 2.6% up. Shares of bulk carrier STX Pan Ocean are down once again on profit taking. The stock is currently trading 5.6% down from its previous close. Airlines stocks are trading mixed while telecom stocks exhibit weakness.

Other stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region are also trading lower today with investors in profit-booking mode on none too encouraging economic data from the U.S. The benchmark indices of Australia and Hong Kong are currently down by over 1.5%. Indonesia, Shanghai and Singapore are also trading with sharp losses. New Zealand and Taiwan markets are trading modestly lower.

On Wall Street, stocks snapped a four-day winning streak on Wednesday as traders chose to take profits on the back of some discouraging economic data. Despite some late buying, the Dow closed down 65.63 points or 0.8 percent at 8,675.24, the Nasdaq closed down 10.88 points or 0.6 percent at 1,825.92, and the S&P 500 fell 12.98 points or 1.4 percent to 931.76.

Major European markets closed notably lower. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 2.1 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index closed down by 2.0 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Most of the markets in the Asia-Pacific region had finished modestly higher on Wednesday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.4 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed by 1 percent.

Oil prices dropped sharply on Wednesday amid an Energy Information Administration report that inventories were unexpectedly higher last week. A discouraging employment report also renewed demand concerns.

Light sweet crude settled at US$66.12 a barrel, down US$2.43 on the session. Prices dropped as low as US$64.95 in mid-day trading.

With more economic data to flow in and the U.S. Fed Chief to come out with his comments on financial markets and monetary policy, traders may well choose to stay cautious in today's session.

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