RTTNews - After a positive start and a subsequent fall to lower levels, the South Korean stock market is edging up on Friday, aided by some strong buying in automobile, bank and steel stocks.

The benchmark KOSPI index, which fell to 1,576.9 after an initial surge this morning, is currently trading at 1,587.3, up 10.9 points or 0.68% over its previous close. The index had ended with a sharp gain of 30.4 points or 1.97% at 1,576.4 on Thursday.

Among automobile stocks, Kia Motor and Hyundai Motor are gaining 2% and 1.7% respectively. Ssangyong Motors, however, is down in negative territory with a sharp 3% loss.

Bank stocks KB Financial, Woori Finance and Korea Exchange Bank are up by 0.5%-2%. Shinhan Financial is trading lower by 0.4%.

Among steel stocks, Hyundai Steel is up by over 3.5%, while POSCO is trading flat. Oil stocks SK Holdings and S-Oil are exhibiting some weakness. KEPCO is also trading lower.

In the technology space, heavyweight Samsung Electronics is up by over 1.5%. LG Electronics is up modestly, while LG Display LCD and Hynix Semiconductor are trading lower by 1.4% and 1.5% respectively.

Telecom and airlines stocks are trading weak. Among shipbuilders, Daewoo Shipbuilding is up by 2.3% and Hyundai Heavy Industries is up by around 0.5%. Samsung Heavy Industries is trading flat, while bulk carrier STX Pan Ocean is down by over 3%.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, Japan and New Zealand are trading notably lower. Hong Kong, Indonesia and Taiwan are trading with notable gains while Singapore is currently trading flat. Stock markets across the region had closed mostly higher on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks moved higher on Thursday, aided by some upbeat news from the manufacturing sector that helped to offset a disappointing jobs report. Some buying interest was generated by the release of a report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve saying that manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region showed some signs of stabilization.

Separately, research group the Conference Board said that its leading economic indicators index increased for the fourth consecutive month in July, signifying a likely improvement in economic conditions in the near term.

The Dow closed up by 70.89 points or 0.8% at 9,350.05, the Nasdaq moved up by 19.98 points or 1% to 1,989.22 and the S&P 500 ended up by 10.91 points or 1.1% to 1,007.37.

Major European markets closed on the upside, with the German DAX index and the French CAC 40 index rising by 1.5% and 1.6% respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose by 1.4%.

With traders doing some profit taking, crude oil saw some weakness on Thursday after showing a substantial upward move in the previous session. Disappointing employment data inspired some traders to cash in on Wednesday's gains.

After ending Wednesday's trading up nearly US$3 a barrel, crude for October delivery ended Thursday's session down US$0.92 at US$72.91 a barrel.

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