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Little Movement Seen For South Korea Shares

The South Korea stock market has finished higher in three straight sessions, surging almost 150 points or 4.8 percent along the way. The KOSPI now rests just above the 3,160-point plateau although it may be stuck in neutral on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed to lower as many of the regional bourses have been overbought in the rally leading up to U.S. President Joe Biden's inauguration, so profit taking may be in order. The European markets were down and the U.S. markets were mixed and the Asian bourses figure to split the difference.

The KOSPI finished sharply higher on Thursday following gains from the technology stocks, oil companies and automobile producers - while the financials came in mixed.

For the day, the index climbed 46.29 points or 1.49 percent to finish at 3,160.84 after trading between 3,123.27 and 3,163.21. Volume was 1.3 billion shares worth 24.6 trillion won. There were 602 gainers and 246 decliners.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial collected 0.76 percent, while KB Financial dropped 0.89 percent, Hana Financial fell 0.27 percent, Samsung Electronics climbed 1.03 percent, LG Electronics skyrocketed 10.78 percent, SK Hynix gained 0.77 percent, Samsung SDI rose 0.13 percent, LG Chem skidded 1.20 percent, Lotte Chemical improved 0.68 percent, S-Oil jumped 1.51 percent, SK Innovation added 0.55 percent, POSCO dropped 0.92 percent, SK Telecom spiked 3.02 percent, KEPCO sank 0.80 percent, Hyundai Motor rallied 2.12 percent and Kia Motors soared 4.00 percent.

The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks were lackluster on Thursday, bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before finishing mixed and little changed.

The Dow dipped 12.37 points or 0.04 percent to finish at 31,176.01, while the NASDAQ climbed 73.67 points or 0.55 percent to end at 13,530.92 and the S&P 500 rose 1.22 points or 0.03 percent to close at 3,853.07.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders expressed some uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets, which may be overbought following the run to record highs.

Optimism about ramped up efforts to combat the coronavirus under new President Joe Biden have also helped to prop up the markets, including the possibility of more stimulus.

In economic news, the Labor Department reported a pullback in initial jobless claims last week. The Commerce Department also released a report showing new residential construction in the U.S. jumped by more than expected in December.

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Thursday after data from the American Petroleum Institute showed an increase in U.S. crude stockpiles last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended down $0.18 or 0.3 percent at $53.13 a barrel.

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