RTTNews - After opening on a firm note on Wednesday, the South Korean stock market pared some gains, with investors pressing sales at a few front line counters following North Korea test-firing another nuclear missile. However, with stocks finding fairly good support at lower levels, the benchmark index KOSPI remains in positive territory with a modest gain.

Riding on the strength of steel and bank stocks, the KOSPI surged to 1,394.74 in early trading this morning but dropped down to 1,376.45 subsequently. Currently, the index is trading at 1,389.85, up 17.81 points or 1.3% over its previous close.

The KOSPI had finished sharply lower on Tuesday as investors worried about North Korea's nuclear and missile tests. With technology and financials stocks declining sharply, the index ended 28.85 points or 2.06% down at 1,372.04.

In the banking space, Korea Exchange Bank is currently up 1.7% and Woori Finance is trading with a 2.8% gain, while Shinhan Financial and KB Financial are up by around 1.2% over their last closing prices.

Steel stocks Hyundai Steel and POSCO are up by 1.4% and 2.5% respectively. Technology issues are exhibiting a mixed trend. Hynix Semiconductor is down by 5% while LG Electronics is trading with a strong 6% gain. Samsung Electronics and LG Display LCD are trading modestly higher.

Automobile stocks are trading weak with leading players in the sector, Kia Motors, Ssangyong Motor and Hyundai Motor going down by 1%-3%.

Airliners are surging higher, while shares of shipbuilders are displaying a mixed trend. Telecom, oil and energy stocks are trading lower.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand and Taiwan are trading firm with their benchmark indices gaining between 1% and 2.3%. Stock markets in Australia and Shanghai are also trading higher this morning.

Wall Street came back strongly after a long weekend on Tuesday with healthy consumer data raising hopes of an economic rebound. The Conference Board's reading on consumer confidence for May reached its highest level since September 2008, generating some optimism about the outlook for consumer spending.

Disappointing housing price data had pushed down stock prices earlier in the session. The major averages moved roughly sideways in the second half of the day, holding onto strong gains. The Dow closed up 196.17 points or 2.4 percent at 8,473.49, the Nasdaq rose 58.42 points or 3.5 percent to 1,750.43 and the S&P 500 closed up 23.33 points or 2.6 percent at 910.33.

Major European markets closed notably higher on Tuesday after seeing some earlier weakness. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index closed up 1.1 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX are finished up by 1.1 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

The stock markets in Asia had finished mostly lower on Tuesday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index slipped by 0.4 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.8 percent.

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