RTTNews - Stock prices are up sharply in the Korean market on Wednesday with participants going on a buying spree across the board. The benchmark KOSPI index opened modestly higher around 1,380, and after gaining ground consistently, is trading firm at 1,397 now, up by over 25 points or 1.76%.

The KOSPI had finished lower on Tuesday as profit-taking erased the gains posted earlier in the day. The index lost 21.46 points or 1.5% to close at 1,371.84 after trading between 1,371.52 and 1,410.

Today, with bargain hunters stepping in once again, stocks across various sectors are seen surging higher, with automobile, technology, oil and bank stocks recording impressive gains.

Among automobile stocks, Ssangyong Motor is up 5.7%, Hyundai Motors is gaining 4.5% and Kia Motors is trading firm with a 3.6% gain.

Technology issues Hynix Semiconductor, Samsung Electronics and LG Display LCD are trading higher by 1.6%-2.3% while LG Electronics is up with a modest gain.

Oil stocks are surging higher, with SK Holdings and S-Oil moving up by 2.8% and 2.5% respectively. Energy stock KEPCO is up nearly 3% over its previous close. Telecom stocks SK Telecom and KT Corp are trading sharply higher.

In the banking space, KB Financial is up 4%, Shinhan Financial is trading 3% up and Woori Finance is up by 2.4%. However, Korea Exchange Bank is down in the red with a modest loss.

Steel stocks remain subdued, while airlines are trading modestly higher. Among shipbuilders, Hyundai Heavy Industries and Samsung Heavy Industries are trading firm while Daewoo Shipbuilding is down by around a per cent. Bulk carrier STX Pan Ocean is trading 3.3% up.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan are trading sharply higher with their key indices moving up by 1%-1.6%. Stock markets in Shanghai, Indonesia, New Zealand, Taiwan and Singapore are also trading in positive territory. Most of the markets in the region had finished moderately lower on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, the Dow ended flat after a choppy ride on Tuesday, losing 1.43 points to 8,763.06. The Nasdaq closed up 17.73 points at 1860.13 and the S&P 500 index edged up 3.29 points to 942.43.

The U.S. Department of Treasury announced that 10 of the largest U.S. financial institutions that borrowed money from the Treasury are planning on paying back their loans. President Barack Obama praised the move, noting that the government has turned a profit from the first round of repayments. He also offered cautious optimism that the financial system is stabilizing.

Major European markets closed mixed for the session. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index drifted lower by less than a tenth of a percent and the German DAX Index fell by 0.1 percent, whereas the French CAC 40 Index finished up by 0.2 percent.

Crude oil closed above US$70 per barrel on Tuesday for the first time this year as the Energy Information Administration boosted its short-term energy outlook. Light sweet crude for July delivery climbed to US$70.01 per barrel, up US$1.92 on the session, its best close since November 4. Crude touched as high as US$70.18, challenging the multi-month intraday high of US$70.32 reached last week.

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