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U.S. investor sentiment boosts local stocks

Apr 14,2018
Korean stocks closed higher on Friday on the back of foreign buying, as hope for a strong U.S. corporate earnings season lifted investor sentiment in the local market. The Korean won remained unchanged against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi rose 12.36 points, or 0.51 percent, to close at 2,455.07. Trade volume was moderate at 6.81 trillion won ($6.36 billion).

Wall Street advanced Thursday due to hopes for strong corporate earnings thanks to the country’s recent corporate tax cut. Geopolitical concerns also eased as U.S. President Donald Trump suggested military strike on Syria may not be imminent.

“U.S. stocks rose as investors looked ahead to the earnings season, attracting offshore funds to local equities,” said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. “Tech and securities gained amid optimism over upbeat prospects for their first-quarter earnings.”

Foreign investors bought a net 52.9 billion won worth of local stocks. Institutions and retail investors sold a net 46.9 billion won and 2.5 billion won each.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics moved up 1.63 percent to 2,490,000 won, and SK Hynix, a major chipmaker, inched up 0.24 percent to 84,200 won.

Securities also saw bullish trade. NH Investment & Securities jumped 5.04 percent to 14,600 won, and Kiwoom Securities picked up 2.69 percent to 114,500 won. Biotech shares had mixed fortunes.

Samsung BioLogics, Samsung’s health care unit, edged up 0.88 percent to 570,000 won, while Celltrion, a major pharmaceutical firm, lost 2.85 percent and fell to 290,000 won. Hanmi Pharmaceutical inched down 0.18 percent to 540,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq also rose 10.42 points, or 1.18 percent, to 891.87. The tech-heavy index ended in positive terrain, buoyed by a 1.3 percent increase in the U.S. Nasdaq Biotech Index and bargain hunting by foreigners for pharmaceutical shares.

Foreigners and institutions each bought net 86.6 billion won and 39.8 billion won, while individuals offloaded a net 122.3 billion won.

Entertainment shares ended mixed. Gaming company Pearl Abyss climbed 1.64 percent to 261,000 won, while Kakao M, formerly known as Loen Entertainment, dropped 6.69 percent to 100,500 won on news of lower than expected first-quarter earnings.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year bonds shed 0.1 basis points to 2.16 percent. The local currency closed unchanged at 1,069.5 won against the U.S. dollar.

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