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Positive Lead Called For South Korea Shares

The South Korea stock market on Friday halted the four-day winning streak in which it had gathered almost 50 points or 2.2 percent. The KOSPI now rests just above the 2,195-point plateau although it figures to bounce higher again on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is firm thanks to surging oil prices and optimism for the outlook on global trade. The European and U.S. markets finished in the green and the Asian bourses are expected to open in similar fashion.

The KOSPI finished sharply lower on Friday following losses from the financials, industrials and technology stocks.

For the day, the index skidded 29.76 points or 1.34 percent to finish at 2,196.09 after trading between 2,187.71 and 2,210.94. Volume was 395.6 million shares worth 4.98 trillion won. There were 549 decliners and 273 gainers.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial retreated 1.24 percent, while KB Financial slid 0.43 percent, Hana Financial declined 1.98 percent, Samsung Electronics tumbled 3.05 percent, LG Electronics dipped 0.41 percent, SK hynix plunged 4.65 percent, LG Display eased 0.26 percent, POSCO skidded 0.38 percent, Hyundai Motor shed 0.41 percent, Kia Motors dropped 1.64 percent, KEPCO lost 0.89 percent and Korea Gas fell 0.73 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks moved mostly higher on Friday as the major averages ended at multi-month closing highs.

The Dow jumped 443.86 points or 1.74 percent to 25,883.25, the NASDAQ added 45.46 points or 0.61 percent to 7,472.41 and the S&P 500 gained 29.87 points or 1.09 percent to 2,775.60. For the week, the Dow spiked 3.1 percent, the NASDAQ climbed 2.4 percent and the S&P rose 2.5 percent.

The strength on Wall Street came amid continued optimism about trade talks between the U.S. and China. A statement from the White House said high level U.S.-China trade talks this week led to progress between the two parties.

In economic news, the University of Michigan noted a bigger than expected rebound in consumer sentiment in February. Also, the Federal Reserve reported an unexpected decrease in industrial production in January.

Crude oil futures ended sharply higher on Friday, lifted by data showing declines in crude output from OPEC. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended up $1.18 or 2.2 percent at $55.59 a barrel, a three-month high.

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