RTTNews - After opening on a positive note and holding firm for more than an hour, the Korean market is seen drifting lower on Friday with participants choosing to lighten commitments ahead of the weekend.

The Korean benchmark index KOSPI, which moved on to 1,389 after a firm start, is currently down in the red at 1,378, down by around 2.5 points or 0.18%. On Thursday, the KOSPI had ended 15.41 points or 1.1 percent down at 1,376.

Automobile and bank stocks are seen trading higher. Kia Motors and Hyundai Motor are up by 3% and 2%, respectively while Ssangyong Motor is down with a modest loss. In the banking space, Korea Exchange Bank is up 2.5% and KB Financial is gaining 1.6%, while Shinhan Financial and Woori Finance are trading higher by around a percent.

Among technology stocks, Hynix Semiconductor is up by 1.2% and heavyweight Samsung Electronics is trading modestly higher. LG Electronics and LG Display LCD are down in the red.

Energy stocks KEPCO is down by over 1%. Among oil stocks, S-Oil is trading flat while SK Holdings is down by 0.9%. Steel stocks are exhibiting a mixed trend.

Telecom stocks are exhibiting weakness. Airliners are also trading weak, with Korea Air Lines going down by nearly 4%. Among Shipbuilders, Daewoo Shipbuilding is down by 2% while Samsung Heavy Industries and Hyundai Heavy Industries are trading slightly down after a bright spell in positive territory. STX Pan Ocean is down by 0.4%.

Aided by a series of encouraging economic reports, Wall Street rebounded after some early weakness and closed higher on Thursday with investors hoping for a somewhat swift end to the recession.

A report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showed that the pace of contraction in the mid-Atlantic region's manufacturing slowed by much more than economists had been anticipating.

Also, a report from the Conference Board showed that its leading indicators index rose 1.2 percent in May, more than what economists had expected. Additionally, according to the Labor Department, weekly jobless showed the first drop in continuing claims since the week ended January 3rd.

The Dow closed up 58.42 points at 8,556 and the S&P 500 closed up 7.66 points at 918. The Nasdaq, which had outperformed in the previous session, was the underperformer throughout Friday's session. It ended down 0.34 points at 1,808.

Major European markets finished the day on the upside. The French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index closed up by 1 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched higher, finishing just above the unchanged mark.

Crude oil moved slightly higher on Thursday as some encouraging economic data boosted hopes of a speedier economic recovery. Light sweet crude settled at US$71.37, up 34 cents on the session. Prices traded as high as US$71.75 and as low as US$70.22 in a choppy session.

Most of the markets in the Asia-Pacific region are currently trading off their highs with profit taking wiping off some early gains. The benchmark indices of Singapore and Indonesia are up by 1.2% and 0.6% respectively while those of Australia, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taiwan are up 0.2% - 0.4% over their previous levels. The New Zealand market is trading in negative territory with a modest loss.

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