The stock market in South Korea opened strongly on Thursday morning, taking cues from Wall Street, where the major indices gained for the second consecutive day on unexpected positive economic data related to pending home sales, construction spending, and manufacturing activity, fueling expectations that the worst for the global economy might have been over.

On Wednesday, the Dow closed up 153 points or 2.01% at 7,762, the Nasdaq gained 23 points or 1.51% to 1,552, and the S&P 500 added 13 points or 1.66% to finish at 811.

In Asian trading, crude oil is currently up $0.46 at $48.85 a barrel, in electronic trading. Light sweet crude for May delivery closed at $48.39 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday, down $1.27 a barrel, after hitting an intraday high of $48.96 and a low of $47.26, after an Energy Information Administration data revealed a build in crude oil stockpiles from last week. U.S. commercial crude oil inventories increased for a 23rd time in 27 weeks by 2.84 million barrels to 359.4 million barrels in the week ended March 27, 2009. US crude oil stockpiles rose to a 15-year high.

The benchmark KOSPI Index opened Thursday's session at 1,254, notably higher than its previous close of 1,233, and is currently trading at 1,262, up 28.38 points, or 2.30%.

The local currency, the Won, opened higher against the US greenback at 1355 Won per US$, up from 1,379.50 Won, and is currently quoted at 1,362 Won per US$.

A report released by the National Statistics Office on Wednesday revealed that South Korea's consumer prices grew at a slower pace in March compared to the same period last year. The consumer price index rose 3.9% during March, lower than the 4.1% rise reported in the same period last year. In comparison to February, the prices rose 0.7%, the report revealed.

Almost all the stocks across the sectors are posting gains. Among the automakers, Hyundai Motor is gaining 4.13%, Kia Motor is advancing 3.24% and Ssangyong Motor is rising 8.80%

Financials are also trading higher. KB Financial Group, the holding firm of Kookmin Bank, is moving up 3.77%, Shinhan Financial is advancing 3.88% and Woori Finance is gaining 3.25%.

Shipbuilders are also advancing. Hyundai Heavy Industries is gaining 1.49%, Samsung Heavy Industries is advancing 1.52%, and Daewoo Shipping is adding 3.76%

Oil-related stocks are moving to the upside. SK Holdings is gaining 4.02% and S-Oil is rising 1.21%. Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics is moving up 1.75%.

Among technology stocks, Hynix Semiconductor is rising 5.31%, LG Electronics is advancing 2.53%, and LG Display is gaining 2.43%.

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