RTTNews - The South Korean stock market is trading lower on Wednesday on profit taking following recent strong gains. Tech, auto and steel stocks are trading in negative territory, while banking stocks are gaining.

In late morning trades, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index, or KOSPI is down 0.64 points or 0.04% to 1,565.73.

The South Korean market finished barely higher on Tuesday, as profit taking in the afternoon erased solid gains from the morning session. For the day, the KOSPI gained 1.39 points or 0.01% to close at 1,566.37. The gain was enough to extend the market's winning streak to four sessions, gathering more than 40 points or 2.5% on its way to a fresh 11-month closing high.

U.S. stocks ended Tuesday's trading on a positive note amid some late session buying interest. The major averages all finished in positive territory by moderate margins, building on Monday's strong gains that helped the Nasdaq and S&P 500 indices cross key levels. The Commerce Department's report of an increase in consumer spending and the National Association of Realtors' report of a rise in pending home sales helped buoy the markets.

The markets have little to digest in terms of economic news on Wednesday.

In the currency market, the South Korean won was trading at 1,221.1 won to the U.S. dollar in early trades, down 3.1 won from Tuesday's close of 1,218.0 won.

In the auto sector, Hyundai Motor is currently losing 0.5% and affiliate Kia Motors is down 0.6%, while Ssangyong Motor is gaining more than 5%. Among steel makers, Hyundai Steel is down almost 1% and Posco is losing 1%.

In the tech space, market heavyweight Samsung Electronics is down 0.14%, LG Display LCD is losing more than 1% and LG Electronics is declining 0.3%. However, Hynix Semiconductor is up 1.40%.

Banking stocks are trading higher. Woori Finance is up 1%, Shinhan Financial is gaining 2% and KB Financial, the holding firm of Kookmin Bank, is advancing 1.3%.

Shares of Korea Exchange Bank are up almost 0.5% after the company reported a profit for the second quarter, compared to a loss in the preceding first quarter. The bank said that net income for the April-June quarter was 238.2 billion won, a turnaround from a loss of 74.8 billion won three months earlier.

Telecom stocks are trading mixed. SK Telecom is adding 0.28%, while KT Corp. is losing 0.7%. Oil issue SK Holdings is losing 0.44%, while S-Oil is adding 0.17% and energy stock KEPCO is gaining 0.6%.

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