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Seoul stocks inch up as investors go shopping

Feb 24,2018
Korean stocks ended higher Friday on bargain hunting by institutional investors. The Korean won appreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi rose 37.24 points, or 1.54 percent, to 2,451.52.

Institutional investors purchased a net 378.6 billion won ($351 million) worth of stocks, while foreigners bought 157.6 billion won worth of shares more than they sold, pushing the benchmark index up. They were able to offset mass sales by individuals, who offloaded a net 522.4 billion won.

Han Ji-young, an analyst at Cape Investment & Securities, said the main index got a boost as foreign and institutional investors engaged in bargain hunting after market corrections.

Park Chun-young, an analyst at Daishin Securities, said overnight gains on Wall Street had a positive impact on the main index. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.66 percent.

Most large-cap stocks were up. Insurances led the gains with a 2.7 percent jump across sector. Chemicals and pharmaceuticals followed close, rising 2.2 percent each.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.98 percent to 2,361,000 won, and top carmaker Hyundai Motor was up 1.27 percent to 159,000 won.

Among decliners, KB Financial, a major banking group, fell 0.31 percent to 64,700 won.

The secondary Kosdaq also rose 4.56 points, or 0.52 percent, to 874.78 despite foreigners offloading for two consecutive days. Heightened investor confidence from a fall in U.S. treasury yields and optimistic results of clinical trials conducted by domestic pharmaceuticals helped the tech-heavy market finish in positive terrain.

Individuals purchased a net 20.7 billion won and institutions bought a net 43.1 billion won worth of shares. Foreign investors sold a net 43.8 billion won.

Pharmaceuticals were major winners. SillaJen jumped by 4.22 percent to 98,800 won after it demonstrated positive results from a vaccine virus it developed to fight tumor cells.

The gaming and entertainment sector also won. Netmarble Games soared 4.29 percent to 158,000 won while competitor Com2us climbed 3.04 percent to 156,100 won.

The local currency closed at 1,079.00 won against the U.S. dollar, down 5.30 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds shed 1.8 basis points to 2.29 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds lost 1.1 basis points to 2.79 percent.

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