RTTNews - Tracking Wall Street cues and the gains posted by other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, the Korean market is trading firm on Tuesday, with front line bank, metal and energy stocks rising sharply on strong buying support.

The benchmark index KOSPI, which rose to 1,409 earlier in the day, has drifted down a bit, but is still trading in positive territory at 1,403.40, up nearly 14 points over its previous close. On Monday, the KOSPI had ended lower by a little over 6 points at 1,388 in lackluster trading.

Bank stocks are trading firm with sharp gains. Woori Finance, Shinhan Financial, Korea Exchange Bank and KB Financial are up by 2.5%-3%.

In the automobile space, Ssangyong Motor is down sharply once again on labor unrest. The stock is down by as much as 13% at present. Kia Motor is down with a modest loss, while Hyundai Motor is trading 1.75% up over its previous close.

Among technology stocks, Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductor are up by 1.4% and 1.5% respectively. LG Electronics is up 0.5% while LG Display LCD is trading nearly a percent down.

Airlines and shipbuilding stocks are trading firm. Telecom stocks are also trading notably higher. Among oil stocks, SK Holdings is up nearly a per cent and S-Oil is trading modestly higher. Energy stock KEPCO is gaining 1.7%. Steel stocks Hyundai Steel and POSCO are up with modest gains.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, New Zealand is the only market trading in the red at present. The Australian market is trading firm with its key indices S&P/ASX 200 and the All Ordinaries gaining around 1.5%. The Nikkei index of the Japanese market is trading nearly 2% up. Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesian markets are also trading sharply higher, while Shanghai is trading with modest gains.

Shrugging off some choppy movements, stocks ended higher on Wall Street as investors indulged in some bargain hunting despite any prominent triggers. However, volumes were rather thin as some traders chose to stay on the sidelines ahead of the release of key economic data later in the week.

The Dow ended 90.99 points up at 8,529.38, the Nasdaq closed up 5.84 points at 1,844.06 and the S&P 500 edged up 8.33 points to 927.23.

Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region had ended Monday's session on the downside. However, major European markets closed notably higher, with the German DAX Index and French CAC 40 Index rising 2% and 2.3 percent, respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index closed up 1.3%.

Oil prices jumped on tensions in crude-producing Nigeria and on China's reported plans to rapidly increase its strategic crude oil reserves. Reports over the weekend said that China planned to increase strategic crude oil reserves by 60% to 270 million barrels during the next five years. New York's main futures contract, light sweet crude for August, moved up by US$2.33 from its closing price on Friday to end at US$71.49.

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