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South Korea Stock Market Tipped To Open Under Pressure

The South Korea stock market on Wednesday snapped the three-day winning streak in which it had climbed almost 80 points or 2.5 percent. The KOSPI now sits just beneath the 3,135-point plateau and it's looking at another soft start again on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is negative, with more profit taking expected after recent gains. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were mixed and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The KOSPI finished modestly lower on Wednesday following losses from the automobile and chemical companies and technology stocks, while the financials were mixed.

For the day, the index dropped 29.52 points or 0.93 percent to finish at 3,133.73 after trading between 3,115.48 and 3,162.95. Volume was 1.8 billion shares worth 16.6 trillion won. There were 422 gainers and 417 decliners.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial rose 0.15 percent, while KB Financial shed 0.55 percent, Hana Financial spiked 2.43 percent, Samsung Electronics tanked 2.00 percent, LG Electronics soared 2.03 percent, SK Hynix tumbled 1.89 percent, Samsung SDI rose 0.25 percent, LG Chem plunged 2.15 percent, Lotte Chemical plummeted 3.53 percent, S-Oil rallied 2.04 percent, SK Innovation surged 4.39 percent, POSCO fell 0.37 percent, SK Telecom advanced 0.80 percent, KEPCO climbed 1.06 percent, Hyundai Motor retreated 1.62 percent and Kia Motors tanked 2.92 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is soft as stocks opened in the red on Wednesday and largely stayed that way, although the Dow was able to finish in the green.

The Dow gained 90.27 points or 0.29 percent to finish at 31,613.02, while the NASDAQ sank 82.00 points or 0.58 percent to end at 13,965.50 and the S&P 500 eased 1.26 points or 0.03 percent to close at 3,931.33.

The early weakness on Wall Street followed the release of a batch of largely upbeat U.S. economic data, which painted a positive picture of the economy but also added to recent inflation concerns.

The Commerce Department said retail sales spiked 5.3 percent in January, while the Federal Reserve said industrial production increased more than expected last month and the Labor Department said producer prices jumped much more than expected in January.

The minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting also signaled the central bank is likely to leave policy unchanged for the foreseeable future, offsetting concerns about the impact of inflation.

Crude oil futures ended sharply higher on Wednesday amid rising concerns over likely disruptions in supply due to severe cold weather in Texas. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended up $1.09 or 1.8 percent at $61.14 a barrel.

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