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South Korea Stock Market May Extend Winning Streak

The South Korea stock market has moved higher in two straight sessions, collecting more than 8 points or 0.3 percent along the way. The KOSPI now rests just above the 2,545-point plateau and it may add to its winnings on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is cautiously optimistic, with technology stocks expected to push markets into the green. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were up and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.

The KOSPI finished barely higher on Thursday as gains from the automobile producers and technology stocks were offset by losses from the financials and oil companies.

For the day, the index was up 1.78 points or 0.07 percent to finish at 2,547.42 after trading between 2,529.53 and 2,548.95. Volume was 961 million shares worth 12.3 trillion won. There were 533 decliners and 298 gainers.

Among the actives, Shinhan Financial and KB Financial both shed 0.75 percent, while Hana Financial dropped 1.11 percent, Samsung Electronics shed 0.31 percent, LG Electronics gained 0.34 percent, SK Hynix rose 0.20 percent, Samsung SDI soared 3.39 percent, LG Chem jumped 1.69 percent, Lotte Chemical fell 0.35 percent, S-Oil plummeted 3.12 percent, SK Innovation retreated 1.60 percent, POSCO skidded 1.05 percent, SK Telecom sank 0.65 percent, KEPCO tumbled 1.64 percent, Hyundai Motor added 0.28 percent and Kia Motors advanced 1.03 percent.

The lead from Wall Street suggests mild upside as stocks opened lower on Thursday but picked up ground as the day progressed and finally ended in positive territory.

The Dow added 44.81 points or 0.15 percent to finish at 29,483.23, while the NASDAQ jumped 103.11 points or 0.87 percent to end at 11,904.71 and the S&P 500 rose 14.08 points or 0.39 percent to close at 3,581.87.

The gains by the NASDAQ reflected expectations that new lockdowns as a result of the recent spike in coronavirus cases will benefit technology companies, as was seen earlier in the pandemic. Data showed 170,161 new coronavirus cases in the U.S. on Wednesday, while daily deaths hit 1,848.

The recent surge in coronavirus cases has led several states to impose new restrictions and lockdowns, possibly leading more Americans to again relying on tech as they work from home.

The markets also got a boost from comments from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., saying Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., has agreed to resume negotiations over a new stimulus bill.

In economic news, the Labor Department said jobless claims unexpectedly spiked last week, while the National Association of Realtors said existing home sales jumped more than expected,

Crude oil futures ended lower on Thursday as rising coronavirus cases in the U.S. and Europe and fresh lockdown measures raised concerns for energy demand. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended down $0.08 or 0.2 percent at $41.74 a barrel.

Closer to home, the Bank of Korea said this morning that producer prices were down 0.5 percent on month in October, missing forecasts for a flat reading following the 0.1 percent increase in September.

On a yearly basis, producer prices sank 0.6 percent versus expectations for a lost of 0.1 percent after slipping 0.4 percent in the previous month.

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