RTTNews - The South Korean stock market has finished higher now in 10 consecutive sessions, gathering more than 145 points or 10 percent en route to a fresh 11-month closing high. The KOSPI closed above the 1,520-point plateau, and now investors are optimistic that it can tick higher still at the opening of trade on Tuesday.

The global forecast for the Asian bourses again provides little in the way of guidance, with financial and property stocks expected to post mild gains and nudge the markets into positive territory. Some better than expected economic news out of the United States could add to sentiment, although it also may wan on mixed corporate results. The European markets were modestly higher and the U.S. bourses tipped slightly higher, and the Asian markets are predicted also to move slightly higher.

The KOSPI finished sharply higher on Monday, thanks to significant gains among the financials and the technology shares. Automobile producers also finished in positive territory, as did the retail stocks.

For the day, the index jumped 21.46 points or 1.4 percent to close at 1524.05 after trading between 1,505.85 and 1,529.26.

Among the gainers, Samsung Electronics gained 2.3 percent, while Hynix Semiconductor surged 10.1 percent, Shinhan Financial Group was up 2.6 percent, KB Financial Group climbed 4.3 percent, Hyundai Department Store added 3.1 percent, Hyundai Motor gained 5 percent and Kia Motors added 4.7 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is flat with perhaps a touch of upside as stocks staged a modest rally in late session trading after experiencing a largely lackluster session on Monday. The major averages were all able to finish in positive territory by mild margins on another day marred by low volume.

On the economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing that new home sales in the month of June increased by much more than expected. New home sales jumped by 11 percent, the sharpest increase in nearly nine years.

The Commerce Department showed that new home sales rose to an annual rate of 384,000 in June from the revised May rate of 346,000. Economists had expected sales to rise to 352,000 from the 342,000 originally reported for the previous month.

The stronger than expected sales growth came amid a pullback in prices, with the median sales price of new houses sold in June falling 5.8 percent to $206,200 from $219,000 in the previous month. The median sales price had increased for two consecutive months.

In earnings news, RadioShack (RSH), Tellabs (TLAB) and Corning (GLW) reported earnings that beat Wall Street estimates, while Verizon (VZ) and Honeywell (HON) reported results that were in-line with expectations. Aetna (AET), however, was one of the major firms whose quarterly earnings fell short of estimates.

The major averages showed a notable move to the upside going into the close, ending the session just above the unchanged line. The Dow closed up by 15.27 points or 0.2 percent at 9,108.51, the NASDAQ climbed by 1.93 points or 0.1 percent to 1,967.89 and the S&P 500 rose by 2.92 points or 0.3 percent at 982.18.

In economic news, South Korea's consumer confidence rose to a near seven-year high in July, helped mainly by the government stimulus package and interest rate cuts, the Bank of Korea said on Monday.

The consumer sentiment index climbed to 109 in July from 106 in the preceding month. A reading above 100 indicates that optimists outnumber the pessimists. The central bank said the index rose to its highest level since the third quarter of 2002, when it stood at 114.

The consumer sentiment survey was conducted among 2,200 households in 56 major cities between July 13 and July 20.

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