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South Korea Bourse Has Firm Lead For Monday

The South Korea stock market has finished higher in back-to-back trading days, surging more than 180 points or 6 percent in that span. Now at a fresh record closing high, the KOSPI sits just above the 3,150-point plateau and it may tick higher again on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests a higher open on hopes for additional stimulus and surging oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were up on Friday and the Asian bourses are tipped to at least open in similar fashion.

The KOSPI finished sharply higher again on Friday following gains from the technology stocks and automobile producers.

For the day, the index spiked 120.50 points or 3.97 percent to finish at 3,152.18 after trading between 3,040.11 and 3,161.11. Volume was 1.3 billion shares worth 40.2 trillion won. There were 463 decliners and 375 gainers.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial shed 0.30 percent, while KB Financial collected 1.09 percent, Hana Financial climbed 2.45 percent, Samsung Electronics soared 7.12 percent, LG Electronics sank 1.67 percent, SK Hynix jumped 2.60 percent, Samsung SDI spiked 5.87 percent, LG Chem rallied 3.85 percent, Lotte Chemical dropped 0.99 percent, S-Oil rose 0.27 percent, SK Innovation accelerated 7.60 percent, POSCO perked 1.20 percent, SK Telecom tumbled 1.85 percent, KEPCO eased 0.18 percent, Hyundai Motor skyrocketed 19.42 percent and Kia Motors surged 8.41 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is upbeat as stocks fluctuated on Friday but managed to finish firmly in the green, sending the major averages to fresh record closing highs.

The Dow rose 56.84 points or 0.18 percent to finish at 31,097.97, while the NASDAQ jumped 134.50 points or 1.03 percent to end at 13,201.98 and the S&P 500 gained 20.89 percent or 0.55 percent to close at 3,824.68. For the week, the Dow rose 1.8 percent, the NASDAQ gained 2.4 percent and the S&P added 1.6 percent.

The markets benefited from optimism that a Democrat-controlled government will lead to more fiscal stimulus and a better handling of the coronavirus vaccine rollout.

Traders were also reacting to a closely watched Labor Department report showing an unexpected decrease in U.S. employment in December - which may provide more ammunition for Democrats to pursue additional stimulus.

Crude oil prices rose sharply on Friday, as recent data showing a drop in U.S. crude stockpiles, and Saudi Arabia's decision to cut output continued to support the commodity. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February ended up by $1.41 or 2.8 percent at $52.24 a barrel.

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