RTTNews - The South Korean stock market pared initial losses and is currently trading higher, as prospects of an economic recovery overshadowed North Korean nuclear risks. Banking stocks are trading higher.

In late morning trades, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index, or KOSPI is adding 4.27 points or 0.31% to 1,400.16.

U.S. stocks saw some further upside over the course of the trading day on Friday, helped by better than expected economic data. A late-session rally helped the major averages to finish the month of May on a high note, further building on recent gains.

Oil rallied to a six-month high on Friday and capped its biggest monthly gain in a decade. Prices are on the rise in recent weeks with hopes improving for energy demand. Light sweet crude for July delivery settled at $66.31 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up $1.23 on the session.

The South Korean market ended in positive territory on Friday amid volatile trading, as foreign institutional investors picked up select stocks. The KOSPI closed trading at 1,396, up 3.72 points, or 0.27%.

On the economic front, South Korea posted a trade balance of $5.15 billion in May, the Customs Service said on Monday. That was sharply lower than analyst expectations for a surplus of $6.9 billion after a surplus of $5.8 billion in April. Imports plummeted 40.4% on year to $23.07 billion, versus expectations for a 38.3% decline following the 35.6% annual contraction in the previous month. Exports dropped 28.2% on year to $28.22 billion, in line with analyst forecasts for a 28.1% decline after the 19.6% fall a month earlier.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar was trading weaker against the South Korean won. In late morning trades, the dollar was quoted at 1,253.0 won, down from Friday's close of 1,255.0 won.

In the tech sector, market heavyweight Samsung Electronics is declining 1.25%, Hynix Semiconductor is losing 1.55% and LG Display LCD is down 3.38%, while LG Electronics is advancing 1.67%.

In the banking space, Woori Finance is gaining 2.71%, Korea Exchange Bank is gaining 0.76% and KB Financial, the holding firm of Kookmin Bank, is up 2.62%.

Steel maker Posco is losing 1.31% and Hyundai Steel is down 0.83%. Among automakers, Hyundai Motor is advancing 2.84% and affiliate Kia Motors is adding 0.84%, while Ssangyong Motor is down 3.41%.

Oil issue SK Holdings is adding 0.92% and S-Oil is losing 1.56%, while energy stock Kepco is adding 0.53%. In the telecom sector, SK Telecom is losing 2.27%, while KT Corp. is gaining 5.29%.

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