Carmakers cash in on upbeat FTA outlook

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Carmakers cash in on upbeat FTA outlook

Korean stocks closed 0.43 percent higher yesterday on eased concerns over Greece’s debt problems, analysts said. The local currency gained against the U.S. dollar.

Moving in a tight range, the benchmark Kospi gained 8.46 points to 1,981.59. Trading volume was heavy at 532.5 million shares worth 6.50 trillion won ($5.81 billion) with gainers outstripping losers 447 to 393.

“Investors are taking a wait-and-see approach. Investor angst was offset by anticipation that the debt crisis would not exacerbate further,” said Lim Soo-kyun, an analyst at Samsung Securities.

Debt-mired Greece on Monday balked at making a final decision on austerity measures put forth by the European coalition including Germany, that called for a cut in the minimum wage.

“Greece’s debts are more of a domestic political issue now, which aren’t likely to have a negative impact on Seoul,” added Lim.

Auto-related shares gathered ground, with top player Hyundai Motor climbing 3.06 percent to 219,000 won and its affiliate auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis soaring 4.97 percent to 285,000 won on hopes that it will benefit most from the Korea-U.S. free trade pact.

The Korean government said a day earlier the trade agreement may take effect early in March, adding that another deal with Turkey could be concluded soon.

Food companies finished bullish, with leading player CJ Jeiljedang jumping 4.78 percent to 318,000 won on the back of a slump in global grain prices.

Tech blue-chips closed mixed. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 1.77 percent to 1,093,000 won and Hynix Semiconductor fell 2.68 percent to 25,400 won.

In contrast, financials lost ground, with No. 3 lender Shinhan Financial Group shedding 2.55 percent to 45,800 won and second-largest KB Financial Group dipping 1.47 percent to 43,450 won.

The local currency ended at 1,118.70 won against the greenback, up 2.1 won from Monday’s close, as offshore investors unloaded their dollar holdings, dealers said.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year treasuries rose 0.02 percentage point to 3.42 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds also gained 0.02 percentage point to 3.54 percent. Yonhap

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