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Markets close higher amid upbeat earnings

Apr 27,2018
Korean stocks closed higher Thursday as foreign investors scooped up large-cap tech shares amid upbeat earnings. The Korean won depreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi climbed 26.83 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,475.64. Trade volume was moderately heavy at 7.78 trillion won ($7.2 billion).

Foreigners bought a net 172 billion won worth of shares on the main exchange after a four-day selling spree, while institutional investors offloaded a net 162 billion won. Individuals bought a modest net 1.1 billion won.

“Investor sentiment improved amid upbeat earnings by firms as some expressed the view that worries over developments in the U.S. treasury yield affected the U.S. market too much,” said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities.

Large-cap stocks had a mixed day of trading, with tech and bio shares leading the gains.

Top cap Samsung Electronics ended at 2,607,000 won, up 3.45 percent from the previous session’s close, snapping a two-day losing streak after it announced record quarterly earnings for the first quarter. The company said its operating profits advanced 58.03 percent for the January-March period from a year earlier, following improved returns from its crucial chip operations as well as smartphone sales.

Its smaller rival LG Electronics added 1 percent to 101,000 won. Chipmaker SK Hynix advanced 4.98 percent to 86,500 won.

Shares of biopharmaceutical companies also gained ground, with Samsung BioLogics, Samsung’s biopharmaceutical affiliate, adding 4.18 percent to end at 498,500 won. Celltrion was up 2.39 percent to close at 257,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq climbed 9.46 points, or 1.09 percent, to 879.39. The tech-heavy index rose for the first time in four sessions as foreigners bought large-cap semiconductor shares amidst rosier outlook for the industry.

Institutions and individuals bought a net 14.9 billion won and 35.6 billion won each. Foreigners were net sellers, offloading a net 38.4 billion won.

Top bio stocks gained as well. Celltrion Healthcare increased 2.56 percent to 88,200 won, while SillaJen, no.2 bio firm on the Kosdaq, climbed 4.47 percent to 86,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,080.9 won against the U.S. dollar, up 0.3 won from Wednesday’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds lost 1.2 basis points to 2.23 percent, and the return on 10-year government bonds was down 1.3 basis points to 2.75 percent.

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