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Tech Shares May Boost South Korea Stock Market

The South Korea stock market has ended lower in three straight sessions, sliding more than 60 points or 3 percent along the way. The KOSPI now rests just beneath the 2,070-point plateau although investors may go bargain hunting on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed, with bargain hunting and interest rate optimism offset by tumbling crude oil prices and trade concerns, The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses ended mixed - and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.

The KOSPI finished sharply lower on Thursday following losses from the financial shares and technology stocks, while the automobile producers offered support.

For the day, the index skidded 32.62 points or 1.55 percent to finish at 2.068.69 after trading between 2,064.00 and 2,094.62. Volume was 528.19 million shares worth 5.44 trillion won. There were 696 decliners and 154 gainers.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial and Woori Bank both lost 0.95 percent, while KB Financial fell 0.52 percent, Hana Financial eased 0.14 percent, Samsung Electronics tumbled 2.29 percent, LG Electronics plummeted 4.32 percent, SK Hynix plunged 3.23 percent, POSCO shed 0.40 percent, LG Chem dipped 0.28 percent, KEPCO added 0.16 percent, Hyundai Motor spiked 2.79 percent, Kia Motors climbed 1.14 percent and SK Telecom jumped 1.95 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is mixed as stocks shrugged off a sharply lower open on Thursday, rebounding to finish mixed.

The Dow shed 79.40 points or 0.32 percent to 24,947.67. while the NASDAQ added 29.83 points or 0.42 percent to 7,188.26 and the S&P 500 fell 4.11 points or 0.15 percent to 2,695.95.

The rebound was partly attributed to reports that Federal Reserve officials are considering a "wait-and-see mentality" after a likely interest rate hike later this month. Traders also went bargain hunting following the early sell-off.

In economic news, payroll processor ADP said private sector employment increased less than expected in November. Also, the Labor Department said first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell less than expected in the week ended December 1.

The Commerce Department reported that the U.S. trade deficit widened to its highest level in ten years in October. Also, the Institute for Supply Management noted acceleration in the pace of growth in service sector activity in November.

Crude oil prices drifted lower Thursday as OPEC postponed a decision about output reduction to later today. Crude oil futures for January ended down $1.40 or 2.7 percent at $51.49 a barrel, after declining to a low of $50.11 a barrel.

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