RTTNews - After opening on a positive note on Monday on the back of encouraging economic reports from the U.S. and trading firm for nearly a couple of hours, the Korean market has pared some gains due to profit taking at higher levels.

Bank, shipbuilding, airlines and automobile stocks are trading firm. Bank stocks are exhibiting a mixed trend while energy and steel stocks are showing some weakness.

The KOSPI, which rose to 1,588 earlier in the day, is currently trading at 1,580, up 4.1 points or 0.26% over its previous close. On Friday, the KOSPI had ended up 10.96 points or 0.7% at 1576.

In the automobile space, Kia Motor is up 0.6%, Hyundai Motor is trading modestly higher, while Ssangyong Motor is up by as much as 15%.

Bank stocks Woori Finance, Shinhan Financial and KB Financial are trading up by 1% - 2%. Korea Exchange Bank is up by nearly 1%.

Among technology stocks, Hynix Semiconductor and LG Electronics are trading higher by 1.1% and 2%, respectively, while LG Display LCD and Heayvily weighted Samsung Electronics are down by 1.7% and 1%, respectively.

Oil stock SK Holdings is up nearly a percent. S-Oil is down with a 0.6% loss and energy major KEPCO is down marginally. In the steel space, Hyundai Steel and POSCO are trading modesty lower.

Among airliners, Korea Airlines is up by 2.2%, while Asiana Airline is trading up 4.5%. Among telecommunications stocks, KT Corp. is up nearly 2% and SK Telecom is trading lower.

In the shipbuilding space, Daewoo Shipbuilding is up by about 3%. Samsung Heavy Industries is trading 1.3% up and STX Pan Ocean is gaining nearly a percent. Hyundai Heavy Industries, however, is down with a modest loss.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, Hong Kong, Nikkei and Indonesia are up sharply with their key indices moving up by 1% - 2.5%. Shanghai, New Zealand, Korea and Taiwan are also trading firm. Stock markets across the region had turned in a mixed performance last Friday.

On Wall Street, buoyed by encouraging economic data, stocks rallied sharply and ended on a firm note last Friday. Buying interest in stocks was sparked by a Labor Department report showing that the pace of job losses slowed by even more than economists had been anticipating in the month of July.

The report showed that non-farm payroll employment fell by 247,000 jobs in July following a revised decrease of 443,000 jobs in June. Economists had been expecting employment to fall by 325,000 jobs compared to the drop of 467,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month. The Labor Department also said that the unemployment rate unexpectedly edged down to 9.4% in July from 9.5%, recording a decrease for the first time since April 2008.

The Dow closed up by 113.81 points or 1.2% at 9,370, the Nasdaq moved up by 27.09 points or 1.4% to 2,000, and the S&P 500 ended up 13.4 points or 1.3% at 1,011.

Major European markets closed notably higher, with the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index posting gains of 1.3% and 1.7% respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose by 0.9%.

Oil prices turned notably lower on Friday after giving back an early rally amid lingering demand worries. A stronger U.S. dollar also lowered the hedge appeal of commodities. Light sweet crude for September dropped to US$70.93 per barrel, down US$1.01 per barrel. Prices rose as high as US$72.84 before later touching as low as US$70.38.

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