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Bargain hunters send Kospi to modest gain

Mar 21,2008
Korean stocks ended higher yesterday, rebounding from earlier sharp losses, as investors bought tech and auto shares despite overnight setbacks in U.S. markets, analysts said. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Kospi index inched up 1.16 points, or 0.07 percent, to 1,623.39. Volume was moderate at 239.3 million shares worth 4.23 trillion won ($4.19 billion), with losers outpacing winners 413 to 369.
“The market began sharply lower, with investor sentiment dented by plunges in overnight U.S. trading, but bargain hunting helped the index end in positive territory,” said Lee Kyong-su, an analyst at Daewoo Securities.
Major blue chip shares closed mixed but tech companies drove the market higher. Semiconductor giant Samsung Electronics jumped 2.54 percent to 606,000 won, the highest since Feb. 5, while smaller rival Hynix Semiconductor rose 2.7 percent to 24,750 won.
Auto issues also ended higher. Top automaker Hyundai Motor rose 1.25 percent to 72,700 won and smaller affiliate Kia Motors gained 0.85 percent to close at 11,800 won.
Financial companies rebounded from their sluggish start. No. 1 lender Kookmin Bank inched up 0.2 percent to 50,500 won and Samsung Securities rose 1.56 percent to 65,000 won.
Steel and shipbuilding companies, however, sapped upward momentum. Steelmaking giant Posco plunged 3.63 percent to 451,000 won and leading shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries lost 1 percent to 345,000 won.
On Wednesday, Wall Street dived as energy and mining shares lost ground on falling gold and oil prices. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 2.36 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index lost 2.57 percent.
The local currency finished down 0.9 won at 1,010 won against the dollar as offshore investors snapped up the greenback, dealers said.
Yonhap


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