Heavy Trading Spurs Markets

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Heavy Trading Spurs Markets

Share prices on Seoul's main stock exchange ended higher Tuesday, with the key index up 2.02 percent on heavy foreign buying.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 12.07 points to close at 608.74, off a high of 609.36 and a low of 593.17. Trading was very active, with 499 million shares changing hands. Daily turnover was 2.72 trillion won. ($2.2 billion). Advancing issues overwhelmed decliners 640 to 175, with 51 other stocks unchanged. A total of 43 shares jumped by the daily limit of 15 percent; eight issues fell by that limit.

The index teetered above and below 600 for most of the day, but turned upward in the last hour of trading, as foreign investors increased their purchases of shares.

"Sentiment was boosted by news that a British credit rating agency, Fitch IBCA, may upgrade Korea's sovereign rating by one notch to A," said an analyst at Daishin Securities Co.

Also boosting the market was upbeat news on the restructuring of bankrupt Daewoo Motor Co. , which raises the chance of an investment deal with General Motors Inc. and Fiat SpA, he added. Daewoo Motor Sales Co., the carmaker's domestic retail arm, shot up by the daily limit to 1,925 won.

Brokerage house stocks led the day's advance , with the subindex that tracks the issues gaining 9 percent. Daewoo Securities Co. climbed by the daily limit to 10,800 won on news that Salomon Smith Barney Inc. may acquire Korea's third-largest securities firm, although the government denied the report.

Most key large-capitalized stocks and other medium-priced blue chips ended higher. Samsung Electronics Co. added 1.19 percent to 212,000 won, and Pohang Iron & Steel Co. climbed 2.51 percent to 98,000 won.

The Kosdaq market also gained, with its composite index rising to its highest level this year. The index edged up 0.36 point, or 0.41 percent, to 87.65. Volume was extremely heavy at 644 million shares valued at 3.3 trillion won.

Large caps showed mixed performances. KT Freetel was off 2.63 percent at 44,450 won, while Kookmin Credit Card Co. rose 1.06 percent to 33,300 won.

by Kim Hyun-chul

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