Market rallies, especially Samsung unitsThe benchmark Kospi closed up 0.39 percent on Wednesday at 2,119.96 after a buying spree by foreign investors.
Foreign investors net purchased 322.4 billion won ($293.8 million) and retail investors bought 18.2 billion won. Institutional investors, on the other hand, sold 344.9 billion won.
Many of the Kospi’s major players, especially units of Samsung Group, rallied.
Cheil Industries, Samsung Group’s de facto holding company, advanced 9.96 percent to 154,500 won, while Samsung SDS jumped 5.27 percent to 269,500 won.
The steep rise was mainly caused by rumors that Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee’s health deteriorated further. The heir-apparent of the chairman is among major shareholders of the two companies.
But Samsung’s biggest business declined as Samsung Electronics edged down 1.9 percent to 1,446,000 won. LG Electronics rose 0.50 percent to 60,000 won.
Hyundai Motor fell by 0.58 percent to 170,000 won and Kia Motors went up by 0.64 percent to 47,300 won. But Hyundai Mobis, a parts affiliate of Hyundai Motor, added 0.43 percent to 236,000 won.
Finance and securities shares also received a boost from the latest rally.
Mirae Asset Securities jumped 5.03 percent to 64,700 won, while Samsung Securities gained 1.08 percent at 65,700 won.
SK Securities also increased by 0.54 percent to 1,855 won.
Posco, the nation’s largest steelmaker, was up 0.59 percent to 256,000 won, and Hyundai Steel tumbled 2.55 percent.
In the currency market, the won weakened 0.3 percent to 1,096.92 a dollar, data compiled by Bloomberg shows. The yen declined 0.2 percent versus the greenback after three days of gains. The two currencies often move in tandem as the nations’ exporters compete in global markets.
“Korea news has been positive: the possibility of a rating upgrade, increased inflows in Korea’s bonds,” said Eddie Cheung, a foreign-exchange strategist at Standard Chartered Plc in Hong Kong. “The near-term concern is what’s happening to the yen.”
Korea’s government bonds rose on speculation the nation’s yield advantage over similar-rated countries will continue.
BY PARK EUN-JEE, BLOOMBERG [firstname.lastname@example.org]