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South Korea Stock Market May Snap Losing Streak

The South Korea stock market has moved lower in back-to-back trading days, sliding almost 35 points or 1.5 percent along the way. The KOSPI now rests just beneath the 2,215-point plateau although it may stop the bleeding on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests mild upside on rising crude oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were slightly higher and the Asian bourses are expected to follow suit.

The KOSPI finished sharply lower on Thursday after the central bank downgraded its growth estimates. Financials and technology stocks led the market lower.

For the day, the index tumbled 32.12 points or 1.43 percent to finish at 2,213.77 after trading between 2,210.43 and 2,250.11. Volume was 507 million shares worth 5.94 trillion won. There were 672 decliners and 172 gainers.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial sank 0.88 percent, while KB Financial retreated 0.87 percent, Hana Financial declined 1.30 percent, Samsung Electronics plunged 3.08 percent, LG Electronics tumbled 2.50 percent, LG Display added 0.23 percent, SK hynix skidded 1.25 percent, KEPCO eased 0.17 percent, Korean Air dropped 1.11 percent, Asiana Airlines soared 2.95 percent, POSCO slid 0.55 percent, Hyundai Motor spiked 2.29 percent, Kia Motors rose 0.59 percent and SK Telecom fell 1.21 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is cautiously optimistic as stocks continued to show a lack of direction on Thursday before ending slightly higher.

The Dow added 110.00 points or 0.42 percent to 26,559.54, while the NASDAQ gained 1.98 points or 0.02 percent to 7,998.06 and the S&P rose 4.58 points or 0.16 percent to 2,905.03. For the holiday-shortened week, the Dow advanced 0.6 percent, the NASDAQ rose 0.2 percent and the S&P fell 0.1 percent.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders were reluctant to make significant moves going into the long Easter weekend.

They were also looking ahead to next week's quarterly earnings news from companies like Coca-Cola (KO), Procter & Gamble (PG), Boeing (BA), Facebook (FB), Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN), Intel (INTC), and Exxon Mobil (XOM).

In economic news, the Commerce Department said retail sales rebounded more than expected in March. Also, the Labor Department said initial jobless claims dipped last week to a nearly 50-year low.

Crude oil futures edged higher on Thursday, with traders weighing near term crude supply and demand prospects. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended up $0.24 or 0.4 percent at $64.00 a barrel.

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