The South Korea stock market has moved higher in three straight sessions, collecting almost 60 points or 2.4 percent along the way. The KOSPI now rests just shy of the 2,430-point plateau although it may spin its wheels on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests little movement amid a lack of catalysts with some markets still on holiday. The European and U.S. markets were mixed and little changed and the Asian bourses figure to follow that lead.
The KOSPI finished sharply higher on Wednesday as it caught up on missed positive sentiment from over the Lunar New Year holiday. Financials and technology stocks led the way.
For the day, the index jumped 33.31 points or 1.39 percent to finish at 2.428.57. Volume was 539.8 million shares worth 6.57 trillion won. There were 526 gainers and 325 decliners.
Among the actives, Shinhan Financial collected 1.73 percent, while KB Financial spiked 2.63 percent, Hana Financial jumped 1.75 percent, Samsung Electronics rallied 2.59 percent, Samsung SDI surged 4.85 percent, LG Electronics rose 0.31 percent, SK Hynix soared 4.34 percent, Naver accelerated 3.06 percent, LG Chem increased 4.32 percent, Lotte Chemical tanked 1.97 percent, S-Oil advanced 0.91 percent, SK Innovation skyrocketed 3.19 percent, POSCO tumbled 1.78 percent, SK Telecom declined 1.71 percent, KEPCO sank 0.74 percent, Hyundai Mobis strengthened 1.43 percent, Hyundai Motor improved 0.73 percent and Kia Motors climbed 1.09 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is murky as the major averages opened sharply lower on Wednesday but improved as the day progressed, eventually finishing mixed and little changed.
The Dow rose 9.88 points or 0.03 percent to finish at 33,743.84, while the NASDAQ dipped 20.91 points or 0.18 percent to close at 11,313.36 and the S&P 500 eased 0.73 points or 0.02 percent to end at 4,016.22.
The early sell-off on Wall Street reflected a negative reaction to disappointing earnings news from some big-name companies like software giant Microsoft (MSFT) and aerospace giant Boeing (BA).
With gold for February delivery climbing $7.20 to $1,942.60 an ounce, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index jumped by 1.9 percent to a seven-month closing high.
Banking, airline and steel stocks also showed strong moves to the upside, contributing to the recovery by the broader markets.
Crude oil futures rose slightly higher Wednesday, with traders reacting to reports that a diesel refinery in Louisiana was shut after a fire on Saturday. The disruption is expected to last at least a month. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March settled at $80.15 a barrel, up just 2 cents from the previous close.
Closer to home, South Korea will release preliminary Q4 numbers for gross domestic product later this morning. GDP is expected to contract 0.3 percent on quarter and expand 1.5 percent on year after picking up 0.3 percent on quarter and 3.1 percent on year in the three months prior.