econoInvestors buy blue chips, and Kospi inches higherKorean stocks closed slightly higher yesterday as investors picked up financial and tech shares, analysts said. Rebounding from a weak start, the benchmark Kospi rose 9.93 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,764.64.
“The index started lower, hurt by overnight losses in U.S. markets, but bounced back into positive territory as investors expanded their holdings of blue chips such as Samsung Electronics,” said Kim Young-gak, an analyst at Hyundai Securities. Foreigners’ net purchases worth 403.6 billion ($413.4 million) also contributed to the surge.
On Wednesday, U.S. stocks fell as soaring oil prices contributed to losses in transportation shares. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 0.4 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index declined 1.1 percent.
Semiconductor makers were among the marked gainers on expectations that chip price hikes by global players could help their profitability down the road.
No. 1 chipmaker Samsung Electronics closed up 1.6 percent at 656,000 won, and its rival Hynix Semiconductor jumped 3 percent. Despite better-than-expected profit in the first quarter due to surging demand for flat-screen TVs, LG Display slid 1.5 percent.
Financial issues closed substantially higher on massive foreign buying. Top lender Kookmin Bank rose 1.1 percent, while smaller Korea Exchange Bank surged 5.9 percent. Shinhan Finance Holding picked up 2.8 percent and Woori Finance Holding advanced 1.3 percent.
Shipbuilders, however, ended in negative territory as investors worried that Korea’s No. 1 steelmaker Posco’s move to raise steel prices will prompt a hike in overall production costs in the sector. Industry leader Hyundai Heavy Industries plunged 3.3 percent, while smaller Samsung Heavy Industries shed 1.7 percent. Doosan Heavy Industries also tumbled 2.9 percent.
Volume was thin at 210.6 million shares worth 5.1 trillion won, with losers outpacing gainers, 398 to 385. Yonhap