RTTNews - The Korean stock market opened on a negative note on weak cues from Wall Street but has edged higher in subsequent trading on the back of some spirited buying at lower levels in a few bank, automobile and steel stocks.

The benchmark index KOSPI, which had slipped to 1,403 earlier this morning, is currently trading at 1,427, up 5.54 points or 0.39% over its previous close. The KOSPI had ended 14.05 points down at 1,422 on Thursday.

Technology stocks are trading weak. Hynix Semiconductor is down by 1.4%, Samsung Electronics and LG Display LCD are trading lower by 1.3% and 1.1%, respectively. However, LG Electronics has recovered after a weak start and is trading higher by nearly a percent.

Bank stocks are edging off their lower levels on renewed buying interest. Korea Exchange Bank, KB Financial and Shinhan Financial have trimmed their early losses and are trading just modestly down from their last closing prices. Woori Finance is down by 1.6%.

In the automobile space, Kia Motors and Ssangyong Motor are up modestly while Hyundai Motor is trading down by 1.3%.

Oil stocks are trading mixed. Energy stock KEPCO is up by about a percent. Steel makers Hyundai Steel and POSCO have rebounded after a weak start and are trading in positive territory.

Telecom stocks are seen edging higher. Airliners are trading mixed. Among the stocks in the shipbuilding industry, Hyundai Heavy Industries and Samsung Heavy Industries are down by 1% and 1.3%,respectively while Daewoo Shipbuilding is down with a modest loss. STX Pan Ocean is up by 0.8%.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia are trading weak. The Japanese market has bounced back after a weak start and is trading flat. The Hong Kong market is up in positive territory while the market in Singapore is trading with a modest loss.

Disappointing economic data rendered the mood bearish on Wall Street and sent stock prices down to a negative close on Thursday. The data released by the U.S. Labor Department showed that first time jobless claims slowed but continuing claims reach rose yet again, reaching a new historic high.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's business activity index for the first half of May showed improvement, but rose by less than expected, further mitigating risk appetite.

Finishing slightly off its lows, the Dow lost 129.91 points as it settled at 8,292. The Nasdaq finished down by 32.59 points at 1,695, and the S&P 500 ended down by 15.14 points at 888.

It was a negative close for all the stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region on Thursday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index slipped 0.8 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 1.5 percent.

Major European markets also closed firmly on the downside. The French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both fell considerably on the day, dropping 2.6 and 2.7 percent, respectively. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index also finished lower, closing down 2.7 percent.

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