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Tech Shares May Weigh On South Korea Bourse

The South Korea stock market has finished higher in consecutive trading days, advancing almost 30 points or 1.5 percent along the way. The KOSPI now rests just above the 2,080-point plateau although it may run out of steam on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is murky, with any upside limited by sliding crude oil prices. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were mixed and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The KOSPI finished sharply higher on Thursday following gains from the technology stocks and mixed performances from the financials and industrials.

For the day, the index climbed 21.80 points or 1.06 percent to finish at 2,080.58 after trading between 2,070.21 and 2,088.24. Volume was 368 million shares worth 4.93 trillion won. There were 640 gainers and 187 decliners.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial jumped 1.61 percent, while Hana Financial slid 0.42 percent, Samsung Electronics climbed 1.43 percent, SK hynix soared 3.57 percent, Naver advanced 1.30 percent, POSCO dropped 0.84 percent, KEPCO rose 0.20 percent, Hyundai Motor perked 1.46 percent, Kia Motors eased 0.23 percent and LG Electronics, LG Display, KB Financial and SK Telecom were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is inconclusive as stocks fluctuated Thursday before ending mixed, with the Dow and the S&P 500 reached new record closing highs.

The Dow added 227.88 points or 0.85 percent to 27,088.08, while the NASDAQ fell 6.49 points or 0.08 percent to 8,196.04 and the S&P 500 rose 6.84 points or 0.23 percent to 2,999.91.

The advance by the Dow was fueled by health insurers on news that President Donald Trump is abandoning a plan to eliminate rebates from government drug plans. The proposal faced stiff resistance from pharmacy-benefit managers, and pharmaceutical stocks tumbled on the news

In economic news, the Labor Department reported an unexpected uptick in U.S. consumer prices in June. The Labor Department also said first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell in the week ended July 6.

Crude oil futures turned weak after a solid start on Thursday, weighed down by a downward revision in demand forecast by OPEC. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for August ended down $0.23 or 0.4 percent at $60.20 a barrel.

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