RTTNews - After a positive start, the Korean market drifted down a bit on Friday, as profit taking wiped off a portion of the gains posted by a few front line stocks. However, with most of the stocks finding good support at lower levels, the benchmark index KOSPI is hanging on in the positive territory with a modest gain.

The index, which rose to 1,436.23 in early trading, is currently up by 5.88 points or 0.41% at 1,425.27. On Thursday, the KOSPI had ended 4.51 points or 0.3 percent up at 1,419.39 after trading between 1,407.50 and 1,435.28.

Automobile stocks are mostly trading lower. Ssangyong Motor is down by 1.2%, while Kia Motor is down with a loss of 0.4%. Hyundai Motor, however, is up by a modest 0.7%, having recovered from its lows on renewed buying support.

Technology issues are exhibiting a mixed trend. LG Electronics is up sharply by 3.4%. LG Display LCD is down by 1.4% while Hynix Semiconductor and Samsung Electronics are trading modestly higher.

Among bank stocks, Korean Exchange Bank has moved up after a flat start and is currently trading 3.5% up. KB Financial is up by 1.6%, while Woori Finance and Shinhan Financial are trading weak.

Steel stocks Hyundai Steel and POSCO are trading higher by 3% and 2.8% respectively. In the oil space, SK Holdings is down in the red with a loss of 0.8% while S-Oil is gaining 1.2%. Energy stock KEPCO is trading with a modest gain.

Airlines and telecom stocks are trading higher with modest gains, while shipbuilding stocks exhibit a mixed trend.

Most of the markets in the Asia-Pacific region are trading firm this morning with notable gains. The key indices of Hong Kong, Japanese, Indonesia and Shanghai markets are up by 0.4%-1.6%. The Australian indices S&P/ASX 200 and All Ordinaries are trading higher by around 0.35% while New Zealand's NZX 50 and the Singaporean Straits Times are up modestly.

Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region had ended largely unchanged on Thursday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed up by less than a tenth of a percent.

Aided by better-than-expected retails sales and jobless claims data, Wall Street ended Thursday's session with modest gains. The Dow closed up 31.90 points or 0.4 percent at 8,770.92, the Nasdaq closed up 9.29 points or 0.5 percent at 1,862.37 and the S&P 500 closed up 5.74 points or 0.6 percent at 944.89.

Major European markets all closed higher following some early uncertainty. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 and the French CAC 40 Index both rose 0.6 percent, while German DAX Index closed up 1.1 percent.

Crude oil added to its best close since October as the International Energy Agency raised its demand expectations for the year. Light sweet crude oil for July delivery settled at US$72.68 per barrel, up US$1.35 for the day, extending its highest close since October. Earlier in the day, oil reached as high as US$73.23.

With key reports like the Reuters/University of Michigan's initial reading on consumer sentiment for the month of June and the Labor Department's note on import and export prices for the month of May to be released later on in the day, the mood is likely to be somewhat cautious today.

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