RTTNews - Shrugging off a weak start, the Korean market rebounded into positive territory on Wednesday and is currently trading firm, with stocks from banking and technology sectors posting notable gains.

The overnight fall on Wall Street following a decline in consumer confidence had set off a negative start in most of the markets in the Asia-Pacific region this morning. However, with investors looking for some bargain hunting at lower levels, a few markets have come off their lows subsequently.

The Korean benchmark index KOSPI, which opened at 1,386 and edged lower to 1,381 in early trading, is currently up by around 11 points or 0.78% at 1,401. On Tuesday, the KOSPI had ended 1.62 points up at 1390.07 after trading between 1,385.76 and 1,409.10.

Bank stocks area among the top gainers in the Korean market today. Korea Exchange Bank is up by as much as 5% Woori Finance, Shinhan Group and KB Financial are trading higher by 2.2% - 2.5%.

In the technology space, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are up by 1.2% and 1.3%, respectively while Hynix Semiconductor is up by a modest 0.4%. LG Display LCD is trading lower.

Among automobile stocks, Ssangyong Motors, which had suffered hefty losses earlier this week, is trading with a sharp gain of 7.3%. Kia Motor is up modestly, while Hyundai Motors is trading in the red with a loss of 1.7%.

Telecom stocks SK Telecom and KT Corp are trading higher by 1.5% and 1.1%, respectively. Airlines and oil stocks are trading weak. Among steel stocks Hyundai Steel is down 0.8%, while POSCO is gaining 1.3%. Energy stock KEPCO is trading weak.

Among shipbuilders, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding are trading weak. Hyundai Heavy Industries is up with a modest gain. Bulk carrier STX Pan Ocean is trading 1.2% down.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore are trading weak. Taiwan, Indonesia and Shanghai are trading modestly higher. The Japanese market, which rebounded smartly after a weak start, was up with modest gains at the end of the morning session.

Despite a slightly positive start, Wall Street ended lower Tuesday as fears of a prolonged recession and job losses dented consumer confidence and rendered the mood bearish. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence index fell to 49.3 points in June from a revised 54.8 in May.

The Dow ended down by 82.38 points or 1% at 8,447, the Nasdaq dipped by 9.02 points or 0.5% to 1,835, and the S&P 500 fell 7.91 points or 0.9% to 919.

Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region had ended Tuesday's session on a mixed note. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed up by 1.8%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slid 0.8%.

Major European markets closed firmly on the downside, with the German DAX Index and French CAC 40 Index finishing down by 1.6% and 1.7%, respectively. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index also fell, showing a decrease of 1%.

Oil prices sank from eight-month peaks today after new data signaled a plunge in consumer confidence in the U.S., the world's largest energy consumer. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August, tumbled US$1.60 from yesterday's closing price to US$69.89 per barrel, after earlier touching US$73.38 - a level unseen since October.

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