RTTNews - The South Korean stock market opened higher on Friday tracking the overnight rally on Wall Street. However, the market has pared most of its gains and is currently trading barely in positive territory, as investors remained cautious in the absence of any particular upward momentum.

In late morning trades, the benchmark KOSPI index is trading at 1,395.30, up 2.57 points or 0.18%.

U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday, thanks in part to strong demand for the Treasury Department's latest bond auction. Following a disappointing start on the heels of disheartening employment data, stocks staged a substantial recovery. The major averages all finished the day firmly in positive territory, with the Dow snapping a four session losing streak.

Crude oil prices rose again in trading on Thursday amid more violence in Nigeria. Light sweet crude for August delivery climbed to US$70.23 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up US$1.56 on the session. Oil reached as high as $70.93 in mid-day trading.

The South Korean market extended gains and ended in positive territory on Thursday, led by technology stocks and on bargain hunting. The KOSPI index ended at 1,393, representing a gain of 28.94 points, or 2.12%.

In the currency market, the South Korean won is trading at 1287.2 won to the U.S. dollar in late morning trades Friday, up 1.7 won from Thursday's close.

In the tech space, market heavyweight Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and LG Display are trading higher by 0.15%-2.5%. However, Hynix Semiconductor is trading lower.

Automaker Hyundai Motor is trading slightly lower, while Kia Motors is down more than 2%. Shares of Ssangyong Motor are up almost 2%. Among steel makers, Hyundai Steel is trading marginally lower, while Posco is gaining almost 1.5%.

In the oil sector, SK Holdings is trading higher by almost 0.5%, while S-Oil is down by less than 0.5%. Energy stock KEPCO is trading modestly higher.

Banking stocks are mostly trading lower. Korea Exchange Bank is up more than 1%, while Woori Finance, Shinhan Financial and KB Financial are trading lower by 0.8%-2%. Telecom stocks are trading mixed. SK Telecom is up more than 1%, while KT Corp. is losing more than 1%.

Shares of Daewoo Shipbuilding are up more than 2% after the company said it has won a $200 million deal from Greece's biggest ferry operator, Attica Holdings SA, to build two ferry vessels.

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