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Seoul stocks at highest level since 2015

Mar 14,2017
Seoul’s main bourse rose above 2,100 to the highest level in almost two years Monday, as investor sentiment on Korea’s unstable politics improved. Some shares related to China bounced back as foreign investors bought stock whose prices had slumped due to the deployment of the U.S. antimissile system.

The Kospi closed at 2,117.59, up 20.24 points, or 0.97 percent compared to the previous trading day. This was the bourse’s highest closing since April 15, 2015.

Foreign investors were the biggest contributors to the uplift, as they net bought 454.8 billion won ($397 million) in Korean shares. Retail investors purchased 282.4 billion won worth, while institutional investors offloaded 215.1 billion won.

By sector, finance shares were strong. Banks gained 3.2 percent and securities added 2.1 percent.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics increased 1.05 percent to reach an all-time high close of 2,030,000 won. Chipmaker SK Hynix rose 3.66 percent to 51,000 won. Shinhan Financial Group climbed 3.59 percent to 49,050 won, while KB Financial Group closed up 3.47 percent at 50,700 won.

Cosmetics shares, heavily affected by the Thaad issue this month, showed signs of recovery: AmorePacific added 1.83 percent to 277,500 won and LG Household and Health Care rose 2.63 percent to 821,000 won.

Among the top 10 companies by market capitalization, Posco and Hyundai Mobis were the only ones to retreat. The steelmaker slipped 0.71 percent to 281,000 won and Hyundai’s auto parts affiliate lost 0.61 percent to 242,500 won. Lotte Chemical slumped 2.82 percent to 361,500 won and Hankook Tire lost 2.06 percent to 57,100 won.

The secondary Kosdaq closed up 3.33 points, or 0.54 percent from the previous session to 615.59. Shares related to IT hardware and components led gains.

CJ E&M climbed 0.51 percent to 79,600 won. Pharmaceutical Medytox inched up 0.15 percent to 409,900 won while Celltrion slipped 0.2 percent to 98,500 won. Kakao slightly fell 0.59 percent to 84,800 won.

The Korean won strengthened 1.1 percent to 1,144.4 against the dollar.

Three-year and 10-year government bond yields each fell two basis points to 1.77 percent and 2.3 percent.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON, YONHAP [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]