RTTNews - After a weak start and a subsequent recovery, the Korean market drifted lower on profit taking on Thursday, but is currently trading with modest gains thanks to support at lower levels.

The benchmark index KOSPI is currently up 13 points or 0.87% at 1,428. Earlier, after opening at 1,411.92, it had drifted down to 1,407.5 in the morning.

The KOSPI had finished sharply higher on Wednesday, thanks to significant gains among financials, technology shares and retailers. For the day, the index surged 43.04 points or 3.1 percent to close at the daily high of 1,414.88 after falling as low as 1,376.46 earlier in the session.

Today, technology, telecom and automobile stocks are mostly trading lower. Airlines are also exhibiting weakness.

The shipbuilding sector is seeing some buying. Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding are up 1.2% and 2% respectively, while Samsung Heavy Industries is up by 7%. Bulk carrier STX Pan Ocean is up with a modest gain.

In the banking space, Korea Exchange Bank and Woori Finance are down by 1.8% and 1.4% respectively. Shinhan Financial is down with a modest loss, while KB Financial is trading 0.7% higher.

Among oil issues, SK Holdings is up 1.3%, while S-Oil is down in the red with a marginal loss. Energy stock KEPCO is up nearly a per cent. Among steel stocks, Hyundai Steel is down by 0.6%, while POSCO is in positive territory with a 2% gain.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia is trading firm, while Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore are trading weak.

On Wall Street, the Dow closed down 24.04 points at 8,739.02 on Wednesday, weighed down by fears of inflation and the slow pace of economic recovery. The Nasdaq closed down 7.05 points at 1,853.08 and the S&P 500 eased by 3.28 points to 939.15.

Major European markets closed Wednesday's session moderately higher. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index closed up by 0.7 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index finished up by 0.6 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

Crude oil finished above US$71 per barrel at its highest level in almost eight months on Wednesday. Traders mulled Energy Information Administration data that showed a decline in crude oil and gasoline inventories last week. Light sweet crude for July delivery finished at US$71.33, up US$1.32 for the session. Prices reached as high as US$72.43 in mid-morning trading.

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