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South Korea Bourse May Extend Winning Streak

The South Korea stock market has ticked higher in two straight sessions, gathering almost 45 points or 2.2 percent along the way. The KOSPI now rests just above the 2,035-point plateau and it's tipped to open in the green again on Tuesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat on optimism for the global trade outlook - plus a bump in crude oil prices. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were up and the Asian markets are tipped to follow the latter lead.

The KOSPI finished sharply higher on Monday as gains from the technology stocks and industrials were capped by weakness from the financial sector.

For the day, the index climbed 26.85 points or 1.34 percent to finish at 2,037.10 after trading between 2,030.90 and 2,048.06. Volume was 428.1 million shares, worth 5.13 trillion won. There were 649 gainers and 208 decliners.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial lost 0.64 percent, while KB Financial dipped 0.44 percent, Woori Bank plummeted 5.52 percent, Hana Financial slid 0.57 percent, Samsung Electronics spiked 3.47 percent, SK Hynix gained 0.69 percent, LG Electronics soared 3.22 percent, LG Display advanced 1.10 percent, POSCO perked 2.93 percent, SK Telecom dropped 1.07 percent, KEPCO fell 0.58 percent, Hyundai Motor added 0.84 percent , Kia Motor retreated 1.87 percent, KT&G shed 0.50 percent and Kumho Tire skidded 2.08 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks extended Friday's gains, allowing the major averages to offset last month's selloff.

The Dow added 98.19 points or 0.42 percent to 23,531.35, while the NASDAQ gained 84.61 points or 1.26 percent to 6,823.47 and the S&P rose 17.75 points or 0.70 percent to 2,549.69.

The continued strength on Wall Street reflected optimism about high-level trade talks between the U.S. and China in Beijing; the two-day meeting was described as positive and constructive.

Meanwhile, traders largely shrugged off an Institute for Supply Management report showing growth in U.S. service sector activity slowed more than expected in December.

Crude oil futures were up Monday, extending gains to a sixth straight session on reports Saudi Arabia will reduce crude exports by the end of this month. Crude oil futures for February were up $0.56 or 1.2 percent at $48.52 a barrel.

Closer to home, South Korea will see November numbers for its current account later this morning; in October, the current account surplus was $9.19 billion.

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