The stock market in South Korea opened strongly on Tuesday morning, taking cues from Wall Street, where the indices closed sharply higher after the Obama administration unveiled plans to help banks sell toxic assets. Positive existing home sales data also helped lift the sentiment in the U.S. markets.
On Monday, the Dow closed up 497 points or 6.84% at 7,776, the Nasdaq gained 99 points or 6.76% to 1,556, and the S&P 500 advanced 54 points or 7.08% to finish at 823.
The benchmark KOSPI Index in South Korea opened higher at 1,226, compared to its previous of 1,199, and is currently trading at 1,212, up 1.02% or 12.22 points
The local currency, the Won, opened strongly against the US greenback at 1382 Won per US$, up from 1,391.6 Won, and is presently quoted at 1,381 Won per US$.
Crude oil is currently trading at $53.56 a barrel, down $0.24 in electronic trading. On Monday, crude oil ended higher by $1.73 at $53.80 a barrel on New York Mercantile Exchange after hitting an intra-day low of $51.62 and a high of $54.05.
Meanwhile, in an effort to revive the economy by boosting demand, the South Korean government approved an extra budget of 28.9 trillion Won, equivalent to $20.7 billion, earlier in the day.
In a meeting with the local business leaders and economic analysts, the Minister for Knowledge Economy stated that, based on the preliminary report from the Korea Customs Service, trade surplus for March is likely to reach $4.5 billion, due to a much sharper decline in imports than in exports during the first 20 days of the month. The data accentuates the weakness in the domestic economy.
Financials and large-cap blue-chip stocks are leading the gains in the market.
Among the financials, Woori Finance is advancing 5.35%, Shinhan Financial Group is gaining 4.18% and KB Financial Group, the holding firm of Kookmin bank, is moving up 4.48%.
Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics is adding 0.18%. Among technology stocks, Hynix Semiconductor is gaining 1.94%. LG Electronics is advancing 1.12%, and LG Display is adding 0.93%.
Shipbuilders are also advancing. Hyundai Heavy Industries is adding 0.25%, Samsung Heavy Industries is gaining 1.14%, and Daewoo Ship building is moving up 0.92%.
Oil-related stocks are gaining on higher crude oil prices. SK Holdings is advancing 1.92%, and S-Oil is edging up 0.17%.
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