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Stocks edge up as fears over France ease

Apr 25,2017
Korean stocks inched up Monday as investors’ concerns over the French presidential race abated, analysts said.

The benchmark Kospi rose 8.7 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 2,173.74. Trade volume was moderate at 367 million shares worth 4.2 trillion won ($3.72 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 509 to 287.

The local stock market opened a tad higher on news that centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right populist Marine Le Pen advanced Sunday to a runoff in France’s presidential election, with a showdown over its participation in the European Union looming in May. Opinion polls showed that Macron may defeat Le Pen.

The market has been concerned that the May 7 victory of Le Pen, a nationalist anti-EU and anti-immigration politician, would undermine France’s position in the world’s largest single economic bloc.

Samsung Electronics, the country’s market leader, added 1.18 percent to end at 2,062,000 won, on a rosy outlook for the sales of its latest high-end smartphone, Galaxy S8.

SK Hynix grew 0.77 percent to finish at 52,400 won as Posco, the nation’s top steelmaker, gained 1.48 percent to end at 274,000 won.

Banking stocks also remained in positive terrain. Shinhan Financial climbed 2.41 percent to end at 48,800 won, and KB Financial added 1.19 percent to end at 51,200 won.

In contrast, Hyundai Motor, the country’s top automaker, remained unchanged at 141,500 won.

Portal company Naver fell 0.37 percent to 810,000 won and AmorePacific, the country’s top cosmetics maker, slumped 3.31 percent to end at 307,000 won after reporting weaker than expected first-quarter earnings.

The local currency closed at 1,129.90 won against the U.S. dollar, up 4.5 won from the previous session’s close.

The nation’s secondary Kodaq market fell 8.34 points or 1.31 percent to close at 626.62 on Monday.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year treasuries rose 1.7 basis points to 1.701 percent, while the return on the benchmark five-year government bond gained 2.9 basis points to 1.882 percent.

BY KIM JEE-HEE, YONHAP [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]