RTTNews - After moving up sharply in early trading, the Korean market has pared its gains with investors indulging in some heavy selling in a few front line stocks. Bank stocks are among the major losers. Telecommunications, steel and energy stocks are also seen drifting lower.

The Korean benchmark index KOSPI, which rose to 1,434.31 earlier in the day, is currently trading at 1,420, down marginally from its previous close. On Friday, the KOSPI had ended at 1,420.04

In the banking space, Korea Exchange Bank is down by 3.6%. KB Financial is trading lower by 2.2% and Shinhan Finance is down with a loss of 1.3%. Woori Finance, faring relatively better, is down modestly at present.

Technology stocks are trading firm. Samsung Electronics, the market heavyweight, is up by over 4%. Samsung Electronics reported better first quarter earnings than analysts expected on Friday, led by its mobile phone division, but remained cautious about business going forward due to the global recession. The firm's net profit fell 72 percent year-on-year to 620 billion Korean won (US$461.7 million), while its revenue grew 9 percent to 18.97 trillion won but it wall still better than what anaylsts had expected.

The company, which reported stabilizing memory chip and LCD panel prices as well as better profit margins in its mobile phone division, remained cautious overall about future sales .LG Electronics is gaining 1.7% while Hynix Semiconductor and LG Display LCD are trading higher by 0.4% and 0.9% respectively.

Airlines stocks are trading mixed. Among automobile stocks, Kia Motor is trading flat. Ssangyong Motor is up with a modest gain while Hyundai Motor is trading lower by 0.4%.

In the shipbuilding space, Hyundai Heavy Industries is up modestly while Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding are trading lower. Bulk carrier STX Pan Ocean is up 0.8% over its previous close.

With the reporting season about to unfold, the mood is quite cautious in most of the Asian markets this morning. Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan and Singapore are trading sharply lower with their benchmark indices losing between 1% - 1.6%. The NZX 50 index of the New Zealand market is down by about half a percent while Taiwan's key index is trading lower by 0.38%. Shanghai is up in positive territory with notable gains.

Stock markets in the Asia-Pacific region had ended on a weak note on Friday following losses in Wall Street, where the major indices had ended sharply lower after the Labor Department released weaker job report for June, denting recovery hopes.

The New York Mercantile Exchange was closed on Friday for the July 4 public holiday. A day earlier, light crude for August delivery had settled at US$66.73.

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