RTTNews - The South Korean stock market opened on a strong note on Wednesday with investors picking up technology, shipbuilding and automobile stocks in early trading. The overnight surge on Wall Street following good results from Goldman Sachs and the firm trend in other markets in the Asia-Pacific region are aiding sentiment to a significant extent.

The benchmark KOSPI index is currently trading at 1,416.5, up nearly 31 points or 2.23% over its previous close. The index had ended at 1,385.56 on Tuesday, gaining 7.44 points or 0.54% for the session.

Technology heavyweight Samsung Electronics is up 3.7%, while Hynix Semiconductor and LG Display LCD are trading higher by 2.5% and 2.1% respectively. LG Electronics is up with a modest gain.

Among shipbuilders, Hyundai Heavy Industries is up 3%, Daewoo Shipbuilding is trading higher by 2% and Samsung Heavy Industries is up with a gain of 1.2%. Shares of bulk carrier STX Pan Ocean are up by about 5%.

In the banking space, Korea Exchange Bank is up by 2.2% and Woori Finance is up by a modest 0.5%, while Shinhan Group and KB Financial are trading flat.

Among automobile stocks, Kia Motor is up 3.7%, while Hyundai Motors and Ssangyong Motors are trading up by 1%. Airliners Korea Airlines and Asiana Airlines are gaining around 1.5% each.

Oil stocks SK Holdings and S-Oil are trading firm. Energy major KEPCO is up nearly a percent. In the steel space, Hyundai Steel is gaining 1.5% while POSCO, which moved up sharply on Tuesday, is currently trading up 0.8%. Telecom stocks are subdued.

In the currency market, the Korean won was trading at 917.1 to the U.S. dollar, up 1.5 won from Tuesday's close.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore are trading higher. The key indices of these markets are currently up by 1%-1.6%. The New Zealand market, which was down in the red earlier in the day, is trading flat. The Japanese market, despite trading off the day's high, was firmly placed in positive territory at the end of the morning session.

Stock markets across the region had ended Tuesday's session notably higher, with Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gaining 2.3% and 3.7% respectively.

Amid a spate of earnings reports and economic data, stocks moved in a choppy way on Wall Street on Tuesday. The major averages all finished in the green by moderate margins, extending their gains for a second straight session.

On the economic front, a report released by the Commerce Department revealed that retail sales increased by a little more than expected in the month of June, although the sales growth was due in large part to higher gasoline prices.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, producer prices rose 1.8% in June following a 0.2% increase in the previous month. Core producer prices, which exclude food and energy prices, climbed 0.5%.

The Dow closed up by 27.81 points or 0.3% at 8,359.49, the Nasdaq advanced by 6.52 points or 0.4% to 1,799.73 and the S&P 500 rose by 4.79 or 0.5% to 905.84

Major European markets also moved to the upside, with the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index finishing up by 1.3% and 1% respectively. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index also rose, posting a gain of 0.9% on the day.

Crude oil finished lower for the ninth time in ten sessions and below US$60 on Tuesday. Light sweet crude for August delivery fell to US$59.52 per barrel, down 17 cents on the session. Prices touched as high as US$61.46 earlier in the session, but later hit as low as US$59.15.

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