RTTNews - The Korean stock market edged higher after a cautious start but has slipped into the red subsequently with bank, steel and technology stocks trending lower on selling pressure due to lack of support at higher levels.

The benchmark index KOSPI edged up to 1,414 after opening at 1,394 but is currently trading in the red at 1,342, down 61.70 points or 4.40% from its previous close.

On Friday, the KOSPI had finished 17.90 points or 1.26% down at 1,404 after moving in an intra-day range of about 30 points.

Automobile stocks are trading firm. Kia Motors and Hyundai Motors are trading higher by 2.5% and 2.4% respectively while Ssangyong Motor is up by over 9%.

Among technology stocks, Hynix Semiconductor, LG Display LCD and Samsung Electronics are trading modestly higher while LG Electronics is down with a small loss.

Oil stocks are trading mixed, with SK Holdings gaining 1.2% and S-Oil trading lower by over 1%. Energy stock KEPCO is down by 0.3%. Steel stocks are trading flat. Telecom stock SK Telecom is up by 2.5%, while KT Corp is trading 0.7% up over its previous close.

Bank stocks are exhibiting weakness today. Korea Exchange Bank, Shinhan Financial and KB Financial are trading lower by 1.1% - 1.8%, while Woori Finance, faring slightly better, is down with a modest 0.4% loss.

In the shipbuilding space, Hyundai Heavy Industries is up 1.1% and Samsung Heavy Industries is trading 3.6% higher. Daewoo Shipbuilding is down by 0.65% and bulk carrier STX Pan Ocean is down 0.4%.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, Shanghai, Hong Kong and New Zealand are currently trading weak. Most of these markets had edged higher after a cautious start. The Japanese, market is trading firm with its benchmark Nikkei gaining over 100 points. Markets in Indonesia and Taiwan are also seen trading firm.

Following a big increase in Chinese demand and on weak U.S. dollar, oil prices edged past $62 a barrel in early trading Monday.

Crude oil finished modestly higher amid choppy trading, adding to its strong week. Oil's hedge value was boosted as the dollar continued to fall against other majors. Light sweet crude for July delivery moved to $61.67, up 62 cents on the session. Oil had jumped to around $62 a barrel earlier in the day.

On Wall Street, stocks faced some selling pressure during the final minutes on Friday on worries about the budget deficit. The Dow ended 14.81 points down at 8,277.32 and the Nasdaq closed 3.24 points down at 1,692.01. The S&P 500 fell marginally by 1.33 points to 887.

Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region finished lower on Friday. Major European markets, however, closed modestly higher. The French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both finished higher by 0.3 percent. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index also closed mildly higher, rising by 0.4 percent.

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