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South Korea Bourse May Spin Its Wheels On Friday

The South Korea stock market has climbed higher in five straight sessions, surging more than 125 points or 6.2 percent along the way. The KOSPI now rests just above the 2,150-point plateau although it may run out of steam on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft, with profit taking likely after recent strength. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were mixed and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The KOSPI finished slightly higher on Thursday following mixed performances from the technology stocks and chemical companies, while the financials were down on profit taking.

For the day, the index rose 4.18 points or 0.19 percent to finish at 2,151.18 after trading between 2,139.68 and 2,191.00. Volume was 1.4 billion shares worth 15.8 trillion won. There were 441 decliners and 391 gainers.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial plunged 3.08 percent, while KB Financial plummeted 4.15 percent, Hana Financial tanked 3.10 percent, Samsung Electronics rose 0.18 percent, LG Electronics fell 0.43 percent, LG Chem surged 4.24 percent, SK Hynix skidded 1.13 percent, S-Oil dropped 1.04 percent, SK Innovation declined 1.57 percent, Lotte Chemical sank 3.02 percent, POSCO perked 0.25 percent, SK Telecom surrendered 1.30 percent, KEPCO retreated 1.79 percent, Kia Motors tumbled 2.17 percent and Hyundai Motors was unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks turned in a lackluster performance on Thursday before eventually ending the day mixed.

The Dow added 11.93 points or 0.05 percent to finish at 26,281.82, while the NASDAQ shed 67.10 points or 0.69 percent to end at 9,615.81and the S&P 500 fell 10.52 points or 0.34 percent to close at 3,112.35.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders took a breath to digest the recent strength and lock in gains; they also seemed reluctant to make more significant moves ahead of the Labor Department's closely watched monthly jobs report later today.

In economic news, the Labor Department said the pace of decline in first-time claims for unemployment benefits has begun to stall a bit, although there was an unexpected increase in continuing claims.

Earlier in the day, some buying interest was generated in reaction to the European Central Bank announcing additional stimulus to deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Crude oil prices edged higher on Thursday after data showed that leading oil producers were in compliance with agreed production cuts. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for July ended up $0.12 or 0.3 percent at $37.41 a barrel.

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