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Seoul stocks buoyed by U.S. economy figures

Nov 23,2017
Seoul’s main bourse finished higher on Wednesday on the back of sound U.S. economy figures and overnight gains on Wall Street, leading foreign and institutional investors to scoop up local shares.

The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar for the second consecutive day.

The benchmark Kospi gained 9.81 points, or 0.39 percent, to close at 2,540.51, up from 2,530. 70 from the previous trading close.

Trade volume was slim at 254 million shares worth 4.7 trillion won ($4.2 billion), with losers outnumbering advancers 475 to 341.

The broad index opened higher, taking a cue from overnight gains on Wall Street.

On Tuesday, U.S. stocks moved up on upbeat earnings reports.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 0.69 percent, and the S&P gained 0.65 percent. The Nasdaq Composite Index also increased 1.06 percent.

“U.S stocks closed higher on the back of upbeat earnings and expectations of a tax cut under U.S. President Donald Trump, leading to the rise of the local market,” Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities, said.

Most large-cap stocks had a mixed day of trading, with tech shares leading the gains.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics ended at 2,798,000 won, up 1.23 percent from the previous session’s close to continue a two-day winning streak.

Its smaller rival LG Electronics added 3.23 percent to 95,900 won. Chipmaker SK Hynix also increased 2.12 percent to 86,800 won.

In contrast, auto stocks closed bearish, with leading automaker Hyundai Motor losing 1.27 percent to 155,000 won, and its sister company, Kia Motors, moving down 1.49 percent to 33,150 won.

KB Financial Group, the largest financial holding company in Korea by asset size, pushed up by 0.72 percent to come out at 56,200 won.

Its local rival Shinhan Financial Group closed at 48,200 won, up from 47,900 won from the previous session, or by 0.63 percent.

Hana Financial Group also rose to 46,550 won, inched up by 1.53 percent.

Shares of pharmaceutical companies lost ground, with Samsung BioLogics, a biopharmaceutical affiliate of Samsung Group, losing 2.17 percent to end at 383,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,089.1 won against the U.S. dollar, up 6.7 won from Tuesday’s close, further gaining strength on the second consecutive day.

BY KANG JIN-KYU, YONHAP [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]