The stock market in South Korea opened higher and is trading in positive territory on Thursday morning, taking cues from Wall Street, where the major indices ended in positive territory amid choppy trading, on expectations of a global economic recovery. A deal announced in the housing sector and positive reaction to a speculation over the U.S. Treasury extending the TARP funding to the insurance sector helped the U.S. markets overlook the still-fluid economic conditions.
On Wednesday, the Dow closed up 47.55 points or 0.6% at 7,837, the Nasdaq closed up 29.05 points or 1.9% at 1,591 and the S&P 500 closed up 9.61 points or 1.2% at 825.16.
In Asian trading, crude oil is currently up $0.53 at $49.91 a barrel in electronic trading. Light sweet crude for May delivery closed up $0.23 at $49.38 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday after an Energy Information Administration data revealed a smaller-than-expected build in crude oil stockpiles from last week.
The benchmark KOSPI Index opened Thursday's session at 1,274, higher than its previous close of 1,1262, and is currently trading at 1,290, up 2.25% or 28.40 points.
The local currency, the Won, opened lower against the greenback at 1345 Won per US$, down from 1,354.50 Won, and is currently quoted at 1,342 Won per US$.
On economic front, the central bank of South Korea kept the 7-day repo rate unchanged at 2.0% at the conclusion of the monthly policy meeting. The Bank stated the fall in economic activity has somewhat moderated of late. Analysts were anticipating the rates to be kept unchanged.
Meanwhile, Korea Credit Guarantee Fund, the state-run credit guarantee agency, in a statement revealed that in an effort to ease credit crunch, it is planning to sell up to 1 trillion won, equivalent to $475 million, in debts backed by a pool of bonds issued by smaller companies in the country with relatively low ratings.
Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics is gaining 1.80%. Among the other technology stocks, Hynix Semiconductor is losing 5%, but LG Electronics is advancing 2.32%, and LG Display is gaining 1.31%.
Financials are trading higher. KB Financial Group is advancing 2.83%, Shinhan Financial is gaining 2.54% and Woori Finance is rising 5.43%.
Among shipbuilders, Hyundai Heavy Industries is adding 0.25%, Samsung Heavy Industries is advancing 2.60% and Daewoo Shipping is gaining 2.29%.
In the auto space, Hyundai Motor is rising 4.32%, and Kia Motor is gaining 2.73%. However, Ssangyong Motor, which announced a restructuring plan yesterday, is down 5.75%
Among oil-related stocks, S-Oil is gaining 2.57% and SK Holdings is adding up 1.32%.
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