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South Korea Stock Market May Extend Monday's Gains

The South Korea stock market picked up less than a single point on Monday, but that was enough to halt the six-day losing streak in which it had tumbled almost 100 points or 4.6 percent. The KOSPI now rests just beneath the 2,140-point plateau and it may add to its winnings on Tuesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is firm thanks to solid economic data, rising oil prices and expected bargain hunting. The European and U.S. markets were up and the Asian bourses are tipped to follow that lead.

The KOSPI finished barely higher on Monday following gains from the financials and automobile producers, while the technology stocks were mixed.

For the day, the index added 0.66 points or 0.03 percent to finish at 2,138.10 after trading between 2,125.54 and 2,145.31. Volume was 260 million shares worth 3.86 trillion won. There were 476 decliners and 338 gainers.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial jumped 2.14 percent, while KB Financial climbed 1.30 percent, Hana Financial spiked 2.58 percent, KEPCO advanced 1.01 percent, SK Telecom skidded 1.19 percent, POSCO shed 0.60 percent, Samsung Heavy surged 2.76 percent, Samsung Electronics sank 0.34 percent, LG Electronics soared 2.17 percent, SK Hynix eased 0.15 percent, Hyundai Motor added 0.83 percent, Kia Motors gained 0.74 percent and Hyundai Heavy and Hyundai Engineering and Construction were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is broadly positive thanks to bargain hunting after a rough couple of sessions. The major averages opened in the green on Monday and stayed there throughout the session.

The Dow added 200.64 points or 0.79 percent to 25,650.88, while the NASDAQ spiked 149.92 points or 2.02 percent to 7,558.06 and the S&P 500 jumped 40.23 points or 1.47 percent to 2,783.30.

The rally on Wall Street came following a report from the Commerce Department showing an unexpected uptick in U.S. retail sales in January. The Commerce Department also noted business inventories increased as expected in December.

But the upside for the Dow was limited by a big drop in shares of Boeing, with the aerospace giant slumping 5.3 percent. Boeing came under pressure following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which was the second crash in five months involving the company's 737 Max 8 model.

Crude oil prices moved higher on Monday, lifted by reports that Saudi Arabia will extend output cuts. West Texas Intermediate Crude futures for April ended up $0.72 or 1.3 percent at $56.79 a barrel.

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