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Stocks hit 15-month high on positive U.S. data

Jan 21,2020
Stocks rose for the third consecutive session Monday to hit a 15-month high on positive U.S. data and a rally by tech stocks.

The won gained ground against the dollar.

The Kospi rose 12.07 points, or 0.54 percent, to close at 2,262.64, the highest level since Oct. 5, 2018.

Foreign investors purchased a net 53.7 billion won ($46.3 million) worth of stocks, giving a boost to the main index. Meanwhile, institutions offloaded a net 18 billion won.

Noh Dong-kil, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities, said positive U.S. housing data boosted investor sentiment, which in turn led to foreign buying in the markets.

U.S. housing starts rose to a 13-year high in December.

Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities, said the Chinese policy of supporting fifth-generation network services gave a boost to Korean tech shares.

In Seoul, large-cap stocks were mixed.

Samsung Electronics was up 1.79 percent to end at a fresh high of 62,400 won on expectations that higher chip prices will lead to an improvement in its earnings. Chipmaker SK Hynix rose 0.91 percent to 99,900 won.

Shares of Lotte Group companies picked up following the passing of the group’s founder Shin Kyuk-ho, on Sunday, on the expectation that the group’s leadership and business plans may take a turn. Lotte Holdings increased by 5.74 percent closing at 37,750 won, and Lotte chemical inched up by 1.84 percent reaching 221,500 won.

Among decliners, Hyundai Motor was down 0.42 percent at 118,000 won, and Celltrion, a local biotech firm, shed 1.43 percent to hit 172,500 won.

Cosmetic shares were on a losing streak. Amorepacific shed 4.86 percent to close at 225,000 won, and LG Household & Healthcare, lost 1.35 percent closing at 1,387,000.

Media stocks were in a negative territory. CJ ENM lost 1.41 percent to close at 154,300 won. Studio Dragon, its production house, shed 1.53 percent closing at 83,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,158.10 won to the dollar, down 1.30 won from the previous session’s close.

The Kosdaq was down 4.94 points, or 0.72 percent, to close at 683.47.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher.

The yield on three-year bonds added 2.1 basis points to stand at 1.458 percent, while the return on the benchmark 10-year government bond inched up 1.1 basis points to reach 1.82 percent.

BY KANG JAE-EUN, YONHAP [kang.jaeeun@joongang.co.kr]