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Bargain hunters, Wall St., lift Kospi almost 1 percent

Feb 13,2018
Korean stocks ended higher Monday helped by bargain hunting by retail investors and gains on Wall Street. The Korean won’s value appreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi gained 21.61 points, or 0.91 percent, to close at 2,385.38. Trade volume was moderate at 344.76 million shares worth 6.41 trillion won ($5.91 billion).

The local market advanced after Wall Street recovered Friday to pare some of its earlier losses.

“The U.S. market closed higher on the last trading day of a turbulent week, led by companies with strong earnings prospects,” said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. “Companies with upbeat earnings momentum are also expected to lift the Korean stock market.”

Individuals bought a net 97.23 billion won to pick up undervalued stocks after a market correction, while foreigners and institutions sold a net 80.23 billion won and 16.71 billion won, respectively.

Tech and bio shares were among the top gainers.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics increased 2.28 percent to 2,286,000 won, and SK Hynix, a memory chip giant, added 1.5 percent to 74,500 won.

Celltrion, a major pharmaceutical firm, jumped 5.03 percent to 302,500 won on hopes of drawing more funds after it moved from the secondary Kosdaq market to the Kospi on Friday. Samsung Biologics, Samsung’s bio subsidiary, advanced 5.37 percent to 422,000 won.

Auto shares were down, as the strengthening Korean won raised concerns over their export competitiveness. Top automaker Hyundai Motors lost 0.65 percent to 154,000 won, and its parts maker Hyundai Mobis fell 1.06 percent to 234,000 won.

The tech-heavy Kosdaq also had a modest gain of 0.64 points, or 0.08 percent, to close at 843.24. The U.S. Nasdaq’s 1.4 percent incline helped Korea’s secondary market enter positive terrain, as did retail investors, who purchased a net 140.9 billion won worth of stocks.

Pharmaceuticals advanced despite Celltrion’s transfer, climbing 0.8 percent across sector. ViroMed jumped 6.18 percent to reach 216,500 won. Celltrion Healthcare, a Celltrion subsidiary still listed on Kosdaq, dropped 2.27 percent to 116,300 won.

The local currency closed at 1,084.6 won against the dollar, down 7.5 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year bonds rose 2.4 basis points to 2.30 percent, and the return on 10-year government bonds climbed 4.9 basis points to 2.81 percent.

BY KIM EUN-JIN, YONHAP [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]