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Financial, chemical gains boost local market

Jan 09,2018
Korean stocks finished higher on Monday as investors scooped up market heavyweights, such as banking and chemical shares, analysts said. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi rose 15.76 points, or 0.63 percent, to close at 2,513.28. Trade volume was moderate at 309 million shares worth 6.3 trillion won ($6 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 474 to 336.

The local stock market opened higher, taking a cue from overnight U.S. gains. All three major indices on Wall Street exceeded their previous closing records Friday on growing optimism in regards to corporate tax cuts and generally upbeat jobs data, analysts said.

“The index did not go further up as tech shares, which led the latest rally in the Seoul bourse, took a breather,” said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities.

Foreigners bought a net 391 billion won worth of local stocks, while individuals and institutional investors offloaded 353 billion won and 85 billion won, respectively.

Samsung Electronics surrendered 0.19 percent to end at 2,601,000 won ahead of the release of its fourth-quarter earnings guidance Tuesday. SK Hynix, a major chipmaker, was down 1.39 percent to 78,200 won.

KB Financial, a major banking group, advanced 3.9 percent to 66,600 won, and Samsung Life Insurance was up 1.23 percent to 123,000 won.

LG Chem, Korea’s leading chemical company, soared 4.81 percent to 424,500 won, and No. 2 player Lotte Chemical jumped 9.1 percent to end at 383,500 won.

Other shares across the board also remained in positive terrain.

Kia Motors added 1.41 percent to 32,400 won. Hyundai Mobis inched up 0.41 percent to 247,500 won.

Top steelmaker Posco rose 0.41 percent to 369,500 won, and Naver, Korea’s most popular search engine, increased 4.63 percent to finish at 950,000 won.

Secondary Kosdaq added 11.48 points or 1.39 percent to 839.51.

Entertainment giant CJ E&M grew 0.55 percent to 91,500 won and Kolong Life Sciences’ gene therapy subsidiary TissueGene advanced 4.07 percent to 56,200 won.

The local currency closed at 1,066.00 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3.3 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year Treasury bonds gained 3.6 basis points to 2.135 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds rose 1.5 basis points to 2.358 percent.

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