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Little Movement Expected For South Korea Shares

The South Korea stock market gave up less than a single point on Thursday, but that was enough to halt the nine-day winning streak in which it had advanced almost 95 points or 4.5 percent. The KOSPI remains just beneath the 2,225-point plateau and it may tick lower again on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is wait and see ahead of the start on earnings season; a tumble in crude oil prices provides a negative bias as the European and U.S. markets were mixed and roughly flat.

The KOSPI finished barely lower on Thursday as losses from the financials and telecoms were mitigated by support from the automobile producers and a mixed picture from the technology stocks.

For the day, the index eased 0.05 points to finish at 2,224.44 after trading between 2,217.18 and 2,230.41. Volume was 395 million shares worth 5.77 trillion won. There were 557 gainers and 256 decliners.

Among the actives, Hana Financial slid 0.51 percent, while SK Telecom lost 0.61 percent, Samsung Electronics dropped 0.96 percent, LG Electronics added 0.26 percent, LG Display rose 0.68 percent, SK hynix shed 0.25 percent, KEPCO tumbled 1.52 percent, POSCO skidded 1.28 percent, Korean Air added 0.46 percent, Hyundai Motor gained 0.39 percent, Kia Motors jumped 1.12 percent and Shinhan Financial and KB Financial were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks fluctuated on Thursday before ending mixed and little changed.

The Dow shed 14.11 points or 0.05 percent to end at 26,143.05, while the NASDAQ fell 16.88 points or 0.21 percent to 7,947.36 and the S&P 500 added 0.11 points to finish at 2,888.32.

Traders seemed reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the upcoming earnings season, as analysts expect results to be disappointing. Financial giants JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) are due to report results later today, marking the unofficial start of the reporting season.

Lingering uncertainty about the global economic outlook and a potential U.S.-China trade deal also kept traders on the sidelines.

In economic news, the Labor Department said first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell to their lowest level in nearly 50 years last week. Also, the Labor Department said a spike in energy prices contributed to a bigger than expected increase in U.S. producer prices in March.

Crude oil futures tumbled on Thursday on worries about a possible drop in demand for crude due to slowing global economy. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended down $1.03 or 1.6 percent at $63.58 a barrel.

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