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KOSPI: Resistance Expected At 2,000 Points

The South Korea stock market has climbed higher in five straight sessions, collecting almost 75 points or 3.7 percent along the way. The KOSPI now rests just beneath the 2,000-point plateau although it figures to run out of steam on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft, with profit taking expected following recent gains. The European and U.S. markets were down and the Asian bourses figure to open in similar fashion.

The KOSPI finished modestly higher on Thursday following gains from the oil companies, weakness from the financials and a mixed picture from the chemical and industrial stocks.

For the day, the index rose 8.67 points or 0.44 percent to finish at 1,998.31 after trading between 1,993.00 and 2,004.95. Volume was 588 million shares worth 8.5 trillion won. There were 463 gainers and 363 decliners.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial skidded 1.34 percent, while KB Financial eased 0.16 percent, Hana Financial lost 0.58 percent, Samsung Electronics eased 0.10 percent, LG Electronics retreated 1.38 percent, SK Hynix dropped 0.83 percent, S-Oil gained 0.14 percent, SK Innovation spiked 2.90 percent, LG Chem soared 4.14 percent, Lotte Chemical sank 1.31 percent, POSCO perked 1.43 percent, SK Telecom added 0.71 percent, KEPCO rose 0.23 percent, Hyundai Motors dipped 0.10 percent and Kia Motors shed 0.81 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is soft as stocks showed a lack of direction on Thursday before finally slipping firmly into negative territory.

The Dow shed 101.78 points or 0.41 percent to finish at 24,474.12, while the NASDAQ sank 90.90 points or 0.97 percent to 9.284.88 and the S&P 55 fell 23.10 points or 0.78 percent to end at 2,948.51.

The weakness on Wall Street was partly due to profit taking, as some traders cashed in on the strong gains posted on Monday and Wednesday.

Traders were also reacting to a Labor Department report showing initial jobless claims pulled back further off their record high but remain at an elevated level.

Also, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing another steep drop in U.S. existing home sales in April.

Crude oil prices moved up Thursday, extending recent gains amid continued optimism about a pickup in energy demand and falling supply levels in the market. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures rose $0.43 or 1.3 percent at $33.92 a barrel.

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