Stocks rise as central bank ups outlook
Seoul’s main bourse jumped on Thursday, bolstered largely by the Bank of Korea’s decision to raise the country’s economic outlook for this year.
The benchmark Kospi closed at 2,148.61, up 19.7 points, or 0.93 percent, from the previous trading day.
Institutional investors bought 141.4 billion won ($125.1 million) in shares, while retail investors offloaded 116.7 billion won worth of stock. Foreign investors also sold 35.3 billion won in shares.
The central bank raised its growth outlook to 2.6 percent for 2017, up 0.1 percentage point from its previous estimate released in January. Analysts also said market sentiment improved on expectations the political situation surrounding North Korea will improve.
“There is sentiment that geopolitical concerns would be eased if the United States does not antagonize North Korea further,” said Kim Sung-hwan, an analyst at Bookook Securities.
Top-cap firm Samsung Electronics gained 1.24 percent to 2,121,000 won on news that pre-orders for the company’s latest high-end smartphone, the Galaxy S8, are better than expected. Pre-orders exceeded 720,000 units in just seven days, the company said.
SK Hynix, a major chipmaker, added 1.53 percent to 49,750 won.
Naver, operator of the nation’s top Internet portal, jumped 4.43 percent to 802,000 won, snapping a seven-day losing streak.
Game behemoth NC Soft shot up 6.22 percent to a high of 358,500 won after pre-orders for its new Lineage M game broke a record in the local games industry. The company said it received 1 million pre-registrations for its role-playing game in eight hours.
Auto shares were mixed, with Hyundai Motor adding 0.71 percent to end at 142,500 won after unveiling a concept SUV under its Genesis luxury brand at the New York Auto Show.
The secondary Kosdaq closed at 623.87, up 2.42 points, or 0.39 percent, from the previous day. The Korea Exchange said Thursday’s gain came as presidential candidates said they will focus on expanding support for the so-called fourth industrial revolution.
The local currency closed at 1,129.70 won against the U.S. dollar, up 11.7 won from the previous session’s close.
BY KIM YOUNG-NAM, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]