Hopes for U.S.-China deal buoy Seoul stocks

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Hopes for U.S.-China deal buoy Seoul stocks

Despite overnight losses on Wall Street, Korean stocks ended higher on Wednesday following gains in tech and pharmaceutical shares.

The benchmark Kospi ended 22.84 points, or 1.16 percent, higher to close at 1,988.53. Trade volume was 342.7 million shares worth 4.03 trillion won ($3.33 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 532 to 273.


Institutions scooped up a net 484.2 billion won worth of shares, while foreigners and retail investors sold a net 353.1 billion won and 147.9 billion won, respectively.

U.S. stocks ended sharply lower on Tuesday as market sentiment was hurt mostly due to the growing trade tension between the world’s two biggest economies and concerns over the U.S. economy.

This month, Washington and Beijing began slapping further hefty tariffs on each other.

The Kospi increase was largely thanks to bargain hunting and increasing hope of the United States and China reaching a limited deal.

“The growing possibility that the U.S. and China may reach a small-scale deal buoyed investor sentiment,” said Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities.

Tech shares rose. Samsung Electronics was up 1.97 percent to 44,100 won, while SK Hynix gained 3.90 percent to 80,000 won. LG Electronics inched up 0.65 percent to 62,100 won.

Auto shares were mixed, Hyundai Motor remaining unchanged at 128,500 won, while Kia Motors edged down 0.57 percent to 43,700. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis rose 0.6 percent to 250,500 won.

Naver rose 0.33 percent at 151,000 won. Posco remained flat at 211,000 won. Kakao gained 0.73 percent at 138,500.

Celltrion gained 4.36 percent to 167,500, and Hanmi Pharmaceutical advanced 1.06 percent to 285,000.

Chemical shares traded lower, with No. 1 LG Chem falling 0.16 percent to 321,500 and oil refiner S-Oil losing 0.41 percent to 96,500. Cosmetics maker AmorePacific decreased 1.77 percent to 139,000. Top oil refiner SK Innovation was down 0.62 percent to 161,500 won.

The secondary Kosdaq gained 9.29 points, or 1.50 percent, to close at 629.31.

The won closed at 1,208.2 won against the dollar. It appreciated 7.4 won, or 0.61 percent, from the previous day.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed slightly higher. The yield on three-year bonds added 2.3 basis points to 1.251 percent. The 10 year-treasury yield lost 3.9 basis points to 1.45 percent.

BY KIM BYUNG-WOOK, YONHAP [kim.byungwook@joongang.co.kr]
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