Chance of US-China talks boosts Seoul stocks

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Chance of US-China talks boosts Seoul stocks


Korean stocks rallied for the third straight session to hit a weekly high Wednesday as optimism on trade talks between the United States and China boosted appetite for risky assets, analysts said.

The Korean currency appreciated against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi added 11.01 points, or 0.50 percent, to close at 2,201.48. It is the highest daily closing price since Feb. 7, when it finished at 2,203.42.

Trading volume was moderate at 416.94 million shares worth 5.50 trillion won ($4.9 billion).

Individuals sold a net 125.8-billion-won worth of stock and foreign investors sold a net 32.7 billion won of stock. Institutions bought a net 133.3 billion won worth of shares.

“Hopes on eased trade tensions between the two economic powerhouses in the world rose high,” said Lee Young-gon, a senior analyst at Hana Financial Investment. “The improving trade environment helped boost investor sentiment here in Korea.”

Tech and electronics shares led the increase, with Samsung Electronics rising 0.33 percent to 46,200 won and its rival LG Electronics gaining 0.28 percent to 72,100 won.

Naver, the country’s No. 1 Internet portal operator, added 1.21 percent to 125,000 won, and Kakao, which owns the largest mobile chat application Kakao Talk, moved up 2.19 percent to 98,100 won.

Chemical firms were also strong as industry leader LG Chem advanced 1.75 percent to 378,000 won and Lotte Chemical jumped 5.80 percent to 301,000 won.

However, auto shares went south, with Hyundai Motor, the country’s No. 1 carmaker, losing 3.11 percent to 124,500 won and its sister Kia Motors falling 3.38 percent to 35,750 won.

Woori Financial Group, which has leading commercial lender Woori Bank under its wing, retreated 1.92 percent to 15,300 won on the first day of its initial public offering as part of its reorganizing plan, drawn up last year, to form a financial holding firm.

The secondary Kosdaq rose 9.33 points, or 1.28 percent, to end the session at 739.91. The tech heavy index was lifted by foreign and institutional buying of semiconductor and IT shares and a 1.5-percent rise in the Nasdaq Composite Index Tuesday.

The Korean won traded at 1,121.7 won against the dollar, down 2.20 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year bonds rose 0.5 basis points to 1.80 percent, and the yield on 10-year bonds rose 0.9 basis points to 1.99 percent.

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