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Seoul stocks get a boost from pharmaceuticals

Mar 09,2018
Korean stocks closed higher Thursday as investors scooped up bio stocks. The Korean won depreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi rose 31.26 points, or 1.3 percent, to close at 2,433.08. Trade volume was moderate at 8.87 trillion won ($8.28 billion).

Institutions were net buyers, purchasing 582.2 billion won. Foreigners and individuals prevented the Kospi from rising higher by selling a net 177 billion won and 411.3 billion won each.

Pharmaceuticals won, Celltrion leading the gains with an 8.92 percent jump to 354,000 won. Investors bought Celltrion shares ahead of the bio firm’s inclusion into the Kospi 200 Index, which occurred Thursday after session closing.

Celltrion, as one of the country’s 200 largest companies, can now list its shares on futures and options markets and gain access to a wider range of transactions. It qualified for inclusion when its average market cap ranked within the top 50 of all Kospi-listed companies in its first 15 days of listing on the main index.

Large-cap shares won across the board.

Samsung Electronics rose 1.19 percent to 2,460,000 won, and SK Hynix, a global chipmaker, gained 0.97 percent to 83,500 won.

Naver, the operator of the country’s top Internet portal, climbed 0.5 percent to 799,000 won.

Hyundai Motor rose 1.31 percent to 154,500 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors gained 0.6 percent at 33,300 won.

The secondary Kosdaq gained 12.91 points, or 1.54 percent, to end at 853.94. The U.S. Nasdaq’s 0.3 percent climb and gains on pharmaceutical and IT shares weighed on the tech-heavy market’s rise.

Foreigners were net buyers, purchasing 130 billion won more than they sold. Institutions and individuals each offloaded 2.5 billion won and 111.6 billion won.

By sector, pharmaceuticals won, tracking Celltrion’s gains. Celltrion Healthcare, a Celltrion subsidiary, climbed 3.33 percent to 108,700 won, while Celltrion Pharm, another Celltrion offshoot, jumped 6.34 percent to 85,600 won. ViroMed, a leading bio firm, also shot up 4.74 percent to 234,300 won.

The local currency closed at 1,072.20 won against the U.S. dollar, up 1.1 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year government bonds fell 1.1 basis points to 2.29 percent, and the return on 10-year government bonds climbed 0.3 points to 2.73 percent.

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