RTTNews - After a weak and somewhat listless start, the South Korean stock market has edged higher on Monday on strong buying in a few steel, auto, technology and bank stocks.

The benchmark index KOSPI, which had drifted down to 1,554.8 in early trading, is currently up in positive territory at 1,565.6, up 8.7 points or 0.57% over its previous close. On Friday, the index had jumped 22.55 points or 1.5% to close at 1,557.29 after trading between 1,536.86 and 1,559.07.

Among automobile stocks, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motor are currently up by 2.9% and 1.3% respectively. Ssangyong Motors which had a couple of bright sessions, is down by nearly 15% today.

In the technology space, LG Display LCD is up by about 2% and LG Electronics is trading modestly higher. Hynix Semiconductor is down with a loss of 1.7% and market heavyweight Samsung Electronics is down by 0.6%.

Airlines and telecom stocks are exhibiting weakness. Oil majors SK Holdings and S-Oil are down by 1.3% and 0.8% respectively and energy stock KEPCO is down by 2%.

Steel stocks Hyundai Steel and POSCO are trading firm. Among bank stocks, Woori Finance and KB Financial are both trading 0.8% up while Shinhan Financial is gaining 1.6%. Korea Exchange Bank is down in negative territory with a 0.8% loss.

In the shipbuilding space, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding are trading lower, while Hyundai Heavy Industries is up by 0.7%. STX Pan Ocean is up by 1.3%.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Shanghai are currently trading higher, while Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan are exhibiting weakness. Stock markets across the region had finished largely on the upside on Friday.

On Friday, Wall Street ended on a mixed note. While the Dow ended up by 17.15 points or 0.2% at 9,171.61, the tech-heavy Nasdaq drifted down by 5.80 points or 0.3% to 1,978.50. The S&P 500 rose 0.73 points or 0.1% to 987.48.

The GDP report from the commerce department revealed that the U.S. economy continued to shrink by a slower than expected margin, but trader sentiment was hit to an extent as consumer consumption came in far lower than expected.

According to the data, gross domestic product fell at a pace of 1% for the second quarter after economists had expected GDP to fall at a rate of 1.5%. Personal consumption figure showed a decrease of 1.2%, significantly more than what economists had been expecting.

Major European markets closed modestly lower on Friday, with the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index and the German DAX index both finishing down by 0.5%, while the French CAC 40 index dipped by 0.3%.

Crude oil turned sharply higher again on Friday and closed at a four-week high. A better-than-expected U.S. gross domestic product report boosted the outlook for energy demand. Light sweet crude for September delivery surged to US$69.45, up US$2.51 on the session. Prices touched as high as US$69.74 after earlier hitting a low of US$64.96.

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