Renewed chance of summit buoys Seoul bourse

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Renewed chance of summit buoys Seoul bourse


Korean stocks closed higher Monday on hopes for the revival of talks between the leaders of the United States and North Korea following a surprise inter-Korean summit over the weekend. The Korean won appreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi added 18.16 points, or 0.74 percent, to close at 2,478.96. Trade volume was large at 9.55 trillion won ($8.9 billion).

The main index began on a strong note led by large cap construction and steel shares, and extended the gains with heavy buying by retail investors.

“Stocks related to economic cooperation between the two Koreas, such as the construction shares, led the index,” said Kim Sung-hwan, an analyst at Bookook Securities.

Individual investors bought a net 262.9 billion won worth of local stocks, while foreigners dumped a net 161.5 billion won and institutional investors offloaded a net 136.9 billion won.

The inter-Korean summit on Saturday - the second between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un - has revived prospects for next month’s meeting in Singapore between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim, which had previously been cast into doubt by Trump.

Pyongyang expressed willingness to talk to the United States anytime and Trump recently hinted the summit could take place as originally planned. Senior officials from the United States and North Korea are now in talks to work out details of the summit.

Hyundai Engineering & Construction skyrocketed 29.89 percent to 79,100 won.

Top steelmaker Posco surged 2.31 percent to close at 354,000 won, and Hyundai Steel gained 14.48 percent to 67,200 won.

Tech shares were among the losers, with market behemoth Samsung Electronics falling 0.76 percent to 52,300 won.

The secondary Kosdaq soared 11.34 points, or 1.31 percent, to 879.69. The tech-heavy index was also buoyed by signs of geopolitical stability and rose as institutions and foreign investors bought construction and IT shares en masse.

Institutions bought a net 16.3 billion won, while foreigners purchased a net 98 billion won. Individuals offloaded a net 88.8 billion won.

The local currency ended at 1,074.20 won against the greenback, down 3.8 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices ended lower. The yield on three-year bonds rose 1 basis point to 2.21 percent, and the return on 10-year bonds also climbed 1 basis point to 2.73 percent.

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