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Foreign buying pushes Kospi to a new record

Oct 12,2017
Korea’s main stock index hit a record high Wednesday, buoyed by strong buying by foreign investors, while Samsung Electronics continued to climb ahead of its upcoming earnings release.

The Korean won also rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi shot up 24.35 points, or 1 percent, to close at 2,458.16. Trade volume was moderate, at 193 million shares worth 5.6 trillion won ($3.07 billion).

Earlier in the day, the local market opened higher, tracking a strong lead from Wall Street overnight.

The last time the Kospi hit a record high was July 24, when it stood at 2,451.53.

Hong Choon-wook, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities, said the local market was positively affected by steady weakness in the U.S. dollar and a modest rise in the price of oil and other commodites.

Lee Young-kon, a Hana Financial Investment analyst, said expectations about a global economic recovery have driven investors’ appetite for local stocks.

Foreign investors scooped up a net 444.9 billion won worth of local stocks.

Samsung Electronics rose 3.5 percent to end at 2,732,000 won, and SK Hynix, a global chipmaker, gained 0.45 percent to close at 89,100 won.

Naver, operator of the country’s top internet portal, shed 0.66 percent to end at 751,000 won.

Hyundai Motor rose 2.65 percent to 155,000 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors climbed 1.88 percent to 32,550 won.

Steel and chemical shares were weak.

Korea’s largest steelmaker, Posco, fell 2.17 percent to 315,500 won, and Hyundai Steel shed 2.04 percent to close at 52,900 won.

LG Chem retreated 2.04 percent to 385,000 won, SK Innovation dipped 1 percent to 202,500 won and Lotte Chem dropped 1.8 percent to 377,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq closed at 662.31, up 7.72 points, or 1.18 percent, compared to the previous trading day.

Entertainment shares grew. CJ E&M advanced 2.19 percent to 79,300 won, and LOEN Entertainment rose 3.68 percent to 93,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,135.25 won against the U.S. dollar, up 0.35 won from the previous session’s close.

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

The yield on three-year government bonds fell 0.9 basis points to 1.929 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year bond declined 0.7 basis points to 2.135 percent.

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