Stocks jump 1 percent, but foreigners still sell

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Stocks jump 1 percent, but foreigners still sell

Stocks closed sharply higher Monday on renewed hope for a U.S.-China trade deal. The local currency gained ground against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi surged 21.54 points, or 1.02 percent, to close at 2,123.50. Trading volume was moderate at 392.2 million shares worth some 4.3 trillion won ($3.65 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 685 to 156.


The index remained in positive territory throughout the session after opening sharply higher, gaining 18.89 points, or 0.90 percent, in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The advance follows earlier reports that the United States and China may delay their plans to introduce fresh import tariffs that are set to take effect Dec. 15, signaling a possible breakthrough in their negotiations to end their yearlong trade dispute.

“The local stocks climbed on President Donald Trump’s remarks that a U.S.-China trade deal is ‘potentially very close,’” said Kim Hoon-gil, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment.

“Investor sentiment further improved after his neutral remarks regarding the Hong Kong human rights resolution were viewed as a positive sign for a trade deal,” Kim added.

Korea’s exports have been on a steady decline since December amid the crippling trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies that are also the largest importers of Korean goods.

Foreign investors remained net sellers, dumping a net 259.5 billion won, but institutions scooped up a net 358.9 billion won. Individuals offloaded a net 140.7 billion won.

Most large caps closed in positive terrain.

Samsung Electronics added 0.39 percent to 51,800 won, while portal operator Naver rose 3.88 percent to 174,000 won.

Carmaker Hyundai Motor surged 1.21 percent to 125,000 won, with Kia Motors jumping 1.13 percent to 44,700 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis inched up 0.59 percent to 257,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq dropped 13.48 points, or 2.13 percent, to close at 647.40.

The won advanced against dollar after the Seoul government said it will take necessary action should the market volatility expand due to the prolonged U.S.-China trade dispute and a possible financial turmoil sparked by the prolonged protest rallies in Hong Kong.

The won closed at 1,176.00 won per dollar, down 2.90 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, were mixed. The yield on three-year bonds gained 1.9 basis points to 1.475 percent, and the yield on 10-year bonds dropped 0.2 basis points to 1.77 percent.

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