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Plans for Trump-Kim meeting give won a boost

Mar 10,2018
Korean stocks closed higher Friday as U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a surprise move that could lead to headway being made on the denuclearization issue. The Korean won appreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi rose 26.37 points, or 1.08 percent, to close at 2,459.45. Trade volume was moderate at 8.46 trillion won ($7.9 billion).

The main bourse opened higher despite Trump signing off on steel and aluminum tariffs that exempted Canada and Mexico from higher duties.

Investors, however, cheered Trump’s decision to meet Kim by May, which may lead to an easing of tension on the Korean Peninsula.

Institutions and foreigners were net buyers, weighing on the main index’s incline. They each bought 292.1 billion won and 195.3 billion won. Individuals sold more than they bought, offloading a net 490 billion won.

By sector, construction and securities led the gains. Hyundai Engineering & Construction spiked 8.2 percent to 43,550 won while Daewoo Engineering & Construction jumped 5.17 percent to 5,700 won.

Mirae Asset Daewoo, a leading brokerage firm, climbed 5.09 percent to 9,700 won. NH Investment & Securities saw a gain of 4.58 percent to 14,850 won.

Large-cap shares were mixed.

Samsung Electronics rose 1.1 percent to end at 2,487,000 won, and SK Hynix, a global chipmaker, edged down 0.24 percent to 83,300 won.

Naver, the operator of the country’s top Internet portal, gained 0.38 percent at 802,000 won.

Automakers traded in negative terrain, with industry leader Hyundai Motor down 0.32 percent to 154,000 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors dipping 1.2 percent to 32,900 won.

The secondary Kosdaq climbed 11.86 points, or 1.39 percent, to close at 865.80. Mass buying by foreigners and institutions helped the tech-heavy market land in positive terrain.

Foreigners and institutions each bought a net 77.9 billion won and 103.1 billion won. Individuals were net sellers, offloading 175 billion won. By sector, chemicals rose 2.6 percent. Semiconductors and pharmaceuticals followed with a 1.8 and 1.7 percent gain each. The local currency closed at 1,069.80 won against the U.S. dollar, down 0.4 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year bonds gained 0.7 basis points to 2.29 percent, and the return on the 10-year government bonds added 1.4 basis points to 2.74 percent.

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