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Stocks reach highest mark in 23 months

Mar 17,2017
Seoul’s main bourse hit the highest point in nearly two years as Samsung Electronics hit a fresh high on Thursday amid the purchase of stocks by foreign investors.

The benchmark Kospi closed at 2,150.08 on Thursday, up 17.08 points, or 0.8 percent, a 23-month high. The previous record of 2,157 was set on April 27, 2015.

Foreign investors led the increase of the index, net buying local shares worth 217.6 billion won ($192.1 million). Institutions and retail investors, on the other hand, each offloaded 80.3 billion won and 238.2 billion won in shares.

By sector, securities and metal increased 3.6 percent and 3.4 percent and transportation and construction both rose 1.9 percent.

Large-cap shares inched up 0.8 percent overall.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 1.06 percent to 2,092,000 won, an all-time record.

Major chipmaker SK Hynix inched up 0.72 percent to 49,150 won and steelmaker Posco jumped 5.05 percent to close at 291,500 won.

Local auto companies also remained in the positive terrain with top automaker Hyundai Motor and its sister company Kia Motors rising 1.34 percent and 2.35 percent each to close at 151,500 won and 36,950 won.

Shinhan Financial Group and KB Financial Group also nudged up 0.1 percent to 49,450 won and 0.58 percent to 51,700 won.

In comparison, Naver, the nation’s portal giant, experienced a fall, dropping 0.12 percent from the previous trading day to close at 819,000 won.

Samsung C&T, the de factor holding company of Samsung Electronics, slid 0.38 percent to 130,500 won. AmorePacific saw its shares decline 1.44 percent to 274,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq recovered from the two-day fall and rose 5.2 points, or 0.85 percent, to close at 613.88 Thursday.

The local currency closed at 1,132.00 won against the greenback, up 11.6 won.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed sharply higher. The yield on three-year government bonds declined six basis points to 1.7 percent, and the rate for 10-year Treasurys slipped 10 basis points to 2.18 percent.

BY CHOI HYUNG-JO, YONHAP [choi.hyungjo@joongang.co.kr]