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South Korea Shares Inherit Positive Lead

The South Korea stock market bounced higher again on Wednesday, one session after it had ended the two-day winning streak in which it had gathered almost 45 points or 2.2 percent. The KOSPI now rests just beneath the 2,065-point plateau and it's expected to open in the green again on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is firm on continued trade optimism and surging crude oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were higher and the Asian bourses are tipped to open in slimier fashion.

The KOSPI finished sharply higher on Wednesday with gains across the board - particularly from the financials, industrials and technology stocks.

For the day, the index surged 39.44 points or 1.95 percent to finish at 2,064.71 after trading between 2,034.19 and 2,068.23. Volume was 379.52 million shares worth 5.42 trillion won. There were 646 gainers and 188 decliners.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial jumped 2.21 percent, while KB Financial accelerated 2.09 percent, Hana Financial rose 2.30 percent, Samsung Electronics spiked 3.94 percent, LG Electronics was up 2.10 percent, SK hynix surged 7.43 percent, Hyundai Motor advanced 2.93 percent, Kia Motors gathered 2.96 percent, POSCO perked 4.07 percent, SK Telecom skidded 2.36 percent, KEPCO plunged 5.36 percent and Woori Bank was unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is upbeat as stocks fluctuated on Wednesday but still finished higher, extending gains for a fourth consecutive session.

The Dow added 91.67 points or 0.39 percent to 23,879.12, while the NASDAQ gained 60.08 points or 0.87 percent to 6,957.08 and the S&P was up 10.55 points or 0.41 percent to 2,584.96.

The markets continued to benefit from optimism about a potential trade deal between the U.S. and China after talks between U.S. and Chinese officials were extended to a third day. Traders remain hopeful the U.S. and China will reach a long-term agreement before a March 1 deadline.

Stocks remained positive after the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting confirmed Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's recent remarks suggesting the central bank will take a patient approach to further interest rate increases.

Crude oil prices rose sharply Wednesday, extending gains to an eighth straight session amid easing concerns about energy demand. Crude oil futures for February ended up $2.58 or 5.2 percent at $52.36 a barrel.

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