RTTNews - After opening higher and trading firm for about an hour, the Korean stock market slipped into the red on Friday, with investors turning cautious and indulging in some selling ahead of the weekend.

The KOSPI, which rose to 1,436.50 in early trading, is currently down in the red at 1,421 with a loss of nearly 10 points or 0.69%.

The KOSPI had ended flat on Thursday as gains among the financials and airlines were wiped out by profit taking among the technology issues. The index lost 0.13 points as it settled at 1,430.89 after trading between 1,426.41 and 1,443.81.

Technology stocks, which had some bright sessions recently, are down in the red with sharp losses. Hynix Semiconductor, LG Electronics and LG Display LCD are down by 1.5% - 2.3%. Heavyweight Samsung Electronics is down with a modest loss.

In the automobile space, Ssangyong Motors and Hyundai Motors are trading lower by 1.2% and 0.4% respectively, while Kia Motor is trading 0.35% up.

Oil stock SK Holdings is up 0.4% and S-Oil is down by about 0.5%. Energy stock KEPCO is trading lower by 1.7%. Among steel stocks, Hyundai Steel is trading flat while POSCO is up by 0.5%.

Among bank stocks, Woori Finance is up 2.2%, Shinhan Financial is trading higher by 1.4% and KB Financial is up by a modest 0.6%. Korea Exchange Bank, however, is down in the red with a loss of 1.4%.

Shipbuilders Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding are trading weak. Bulk carrier STX Pan Ocean is down sharply by 2.8%.

Among airliners, Korean Airlines is up sharply by 2.5% and Asiana Airlines is trading 0.6% up. Telecom stocks are exhibiting weakness.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia and Taiwan are trading with modest gains. Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand are exhibiting weakness. The Indonesian market is trading flat. In Tokyo, the Nikkei was flat at the end of the morning session after displaying strength in early trading. On Thursday, the markets in the Asia-Pacific region had ended on a mixed note.

On Wall Street, stocks moved in a choppy fashion on Thursday and ended with modest gains on the back of some encouraging employment data. A report from the Labor Department showed that jobless claims fell to 565,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 617,000. Economists had been expecting a more modest decrease to 603,000 from the 614,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Traders largely shrugged off May wholesale trade data from the Commerce Department, which showed that wholesale inventories fell by less than economists had been expecting. The report also showed a modest increase in wholesale sales.

The Dow ended up by 4.76 points or 0.1% at 8,183, the Nasdaq rose by 5.38 points or 0.3% to 1,753 and the S&P 500 finished up by 3.12 points or 0.4% at 883.

Major European markets all closed on the upside, with the German DAX Index closing up by 1.3%, while the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index both rose by 0.5%.

Oil finished mildly higher amid choppy trading on Thursday as the weekly employment report sparked hopes the economy could improve. Light sweet crude for August climbed to US$60.41 per barrel, up 27 cents on the session. Earlier, oil touched a multi-month low of US$59.25.

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