RTTNews - The South Korean stock market on Monday saw an end to the three-day winning streak in which it had gathered nearly 35 points or 3 percent along the way. The KOSPI remains within shouting distance of the 1,400-point plateau, and now investors are optimistic that the market could break through at the opening of trade on Tuesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is fairly positive, with strength expected from the financial and oil sectors in particular - although turnout may be light ahead of some key economic data out of the United States later in this holiday-shortened trading week. The European markets finished sharply higher, while the U.S. bourses also ended firmly in the green - and the Asian markets are tipped also to move solidly higher.

The KOSPI finished modestly lower on Monday, dragged into negative territory by weakness among the construction and industrial issues. Financials were mixed, but some of the power companies lent support.

For the day, the index eased 6.08 points or 0.44 percent to close at 1,388.45 after trading between 1,386.03 and 1,408.94. Volume was 416.8 million shares worth 3.95 trillion won, with losers outpacing gainers 513 to 283.

Among the decliners, Kumho Industrial Co and Ssangyong Motor both fell by the daily limit of 15 percent, while Asiana Airlines shed 0.1 percent, Samsung Securities fell 1 percent, Daewoo Securities lost 3 percent and Doosan Heavy industries & Construction fell 6.3 percent.

Finishing higher, Korea Gas rose 3.2 percent, while Samsung Electronics was up 0.3 percent and Daewoo Engineering and Construction was 7 percent higher.

Wall Street offers a positive lead as stocks were able to move firmly into positive territory in mid-morning trade on Monday, hovering near their highs for most of remainder of the session after a choppy start. The major averages kicked off the week on a strong note, finishing up by notable margins amid a low volume trading session.

The light volume came as some traders remained on the sidelines ahead of the release of key economic figures later in the week. Traders are looking ahead to data on home prices, consumer confidence, manufacturing and employment.

Amid a light day on the economic front, the sentencing of Bernard Madoff for his $65 billion Ponzi scheme drew some attention, with Madoff receiving the maximum sentence of 150 years in prison. Despite arguments from his defense and words from the former financier himself that he was truly sorry, Judge Denny Chin ensured that Madoff would spend the rest of his life in jail.

On the corporate front, Apple (AAPL) confirmed that CEO Steve Jobs is back at work on a part-time basis, returning after a nearly six-month medical leave during which he underwent a liver transplant. Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman (NOC) saw some strength after it received a contract along with Cobham for the supply of an upgraded vehicle intercom system from the U.S. Army. The contract is valued at up to $2.4 billion.

The major indices all closed higher, with the Dow and the S&P 500 finishing near their best levels of the day. The Dow closed up 90.99 points or 1.1 percent at 8,529.38, the NASDAQ closed up 5.84 points or 0.3 percent at 1,844.06, and the S&P rose 8.33 points or 0.9 percent to 927.23.

In economic news, South Korea is on Tuesday set to announce May numbers for industrial output and service industry output. Industrial output is expected to contract 8.6 percent on year after the 8.2 percent annual fall in April. Service industry output was up 1.6 percent on year in the previous month.

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