RTTNews - After a positive start and a subsequent surge on strong Wall Street cues, the Korean market has drifted down a bit and shed a portion of early gains with a section of investors going in for some profit taking in bank, telecom and shipbuilding stocks.

The Korean benchmark index KOSPI, which rallied to 1,586 earlier in the day, is currently trading at 1,575, up 10.3 points or 0.66% over its previous close. The KOSPI had ended at 1,565 on Monday, recording a gain of 7.7 points or 0.5%

Among automobile stocks Kia Motor is up by 2.2% and Hyundai Motor is gaining about 4%. Ssangyong Motor, which had gone down sharply in the previous session, is trading flat.

In the technology space, Hynix Semiconductor is up by 3.2%, heavyweight Samsung Electronics is trading up by 1.3% and LG Electronics is trading higher by 1.2%. However, LG Display LCD is down in negative territory with a modest loss.

Bank stocks Woori Finance and Shinhan Financial are down by 3% and 1.3% respectively. Korea Exchange Bank is trading lower by 0.8% while KB Financial is up with a modest 0.4% gain.

Oil stocks SK Holdings and S-Oil are up by 2.8% and 1%, respectively. Energy major KEPCO is down by nearly 1%. Among steel stocks, Hyundai Steel is trading 1.2% up while POSCO is gaining 1.5%.

Among shipbuilders, Hyundai Heavy Industries and Samsung Heavy Industries are trading weak while Daewoo Shipbuilding is up by 2.7%. Bulk carrier STX Pan Ocean is down by 1.2%.

Airliners Korea Airlines and Asiana Airlines are trading up by 2.2% and 1.2%, respectively. Telecom stocks exhibit weakness.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Japan are up sharply today with their key indices gaining between 1% and 1.5%. Singapore is trading flat now while Taiwan is trading modestly higher. The Shanghai market is trading weak despite a positive start. Stock markets across the region had finished Monday's trading mostly higher.

Fueled by better-than-expected economic data, stocks surged higher on Wall Street on Monday. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 moved past the key technical levels of 2,000 and 1,000, respectively.

A report from the Institute for Supply Management showed a much slower than expected pace of contraction in manufacturing activity in July and significant improvements in new orders and production. Data from the U.S. Commerce Department revealed that construction spending rose 0.3% percent in June following a revised 0.8% slide in May. Economists were expecting a decline of 0.5% for the month.

The Dow closed up by 114.95 points or 1.3% at 9,287, the Nasdaq ended up 30.11 points or 1.5% at 2,009 and the S&P 500 moved up by 15.15 points or 1.5% to 1,003.

Major European markets closed notably higher, with the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index posting gains of 1.5% and 1.8%, respectively, while U.K.'s FTSE 100 index gained 1.6%.

Crude oil continued its upward surge on Monday, extending a seven-week high. Encouraging economic data improved the prospect of energy demand. Light sweet crude for September delivery rallied to US$71.58, up US$2.13 on the session. Prices reached as high as US$72.10 earlier in the day.

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