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South Korea Shares May See Continued Strength

The South Korea stock market bounced higher again on Thursday, one session after it had halted the four-day winning streak in which it had climbed almost 90 points or 4 percent. Now at a fresh nine-month closing high, the KOSPI now sits just beneath the 2,250-point plateau and it may add to its winnings on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat on solid economic data and continued momentum from the U.S./China trade deal. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourses were firmly higher and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The KOSPI finished modestly higher on Thursday following mixed performances from the financial shares, technology stocks and industrial issues.

For the day, the index advanced 17.07 points or 0.77 percent to finish at 2,248.05 after trading between 2,225.41 and 2,249.09. Volume was 796 million shares worth 6 trillion won. There were 437 decliners and 374 gainers.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial shed 0.48 percent, while KB Financial collected 0.21 percent, Samsung Electronics spiked 2.88 percent, LG Electronics fell 0.36 percent, LG Chem rose 0.15 percent, SK Hynix advanced 1.02 percent, POSCO dipped 0.21 percent, SK Telecom lost 0.63 percent, KEPCO sank 0.74 percent, Hyundai Motors soared 3.04 percent, Kia Motors eased 0.12 percent and Hana Financial was unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is strong as stocks moved sharply higher on Thursday, extending recent gains as the major averages hit fresh record closing highs.

The Dow jumped 262.42 points or 0.92 percent to 29,297.64, while the NASDAQ added 98.44 points or 1.06 percent to 9.357.13 and the S&P 500 rose 27.52 points or 0.84 percent to 3,316.81.

The markets continued to benefit from upward momentum following the official signing of the U.S.-China phase one trade deal on Wednesday.

A batch of largely upbeat U.S. economic data also contributed to the buying interest as the Labor Department noted an unexpected decrease in initial jobless claims last week. The Commerce Department also said U.S. retail sales rose in line with estimates last month.

Also, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve reported substantial acceleration in the pace of growth in regional manufacturing activity in January, while the National Association of Home Builders saw a pullback in homebuilder confidence in January.

Crude oil futures settled higher on Thursday, rebounding from losses in the previous session thanks to a drop in U.S. crude inventories. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for February ended up $0.71 or 1.2 percent at $58.52 a barrel.

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