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Gains by bio and auto stocks help lift market

June 02,2018
Korean shares ended higher Friday, led by gains made by heavyweight bio and auto stocks. The Korean won appreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi added 15.95 points, or 0.66 percent, to finish at 2,438.96. Trade volume was relatively large at 8.6 trillion won ($8 billion).

The local stock market opened nearly flat after the United States announced tariffs on imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, but gained ground on heavy buying by foreign investors.

“Foreign investors led the market, boosted by strong economic data,” Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities, said, referring to the country’s May trade balance and the industrial output for April.

Korea’s exports spiked 13.5 percent on-year in May, rebounding from a brief dip in the previous month.

Foreigners bought a net 233.5 billion won worth of local stocks, while individuals dumped a net 132 billion won and institutional investors offloaded a net 118 billion won.

Bio shares led the rally, with pharmaceutical giant Celltrion advancing 3.01 percent to close at 273,500 won.

Samsung BioLogics jumped 3.79 percent to 451,500 won after financial authorities wrapped up reviewing the company’s alleged accounting irregularities the previous day.

Auto shares were also among the winners with No. 1 carmaker Hyundai Motor edging up 0.72 percent to 140,000 won.

Its smaller affiliate Kia Motors gained 2.41 percent to 31,900 won, and auto parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis soared 3.9 percent to 226,500 won.

Tech shares were mixed, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics adding 1.18 percent to close at 51,300 won, and SK Hynix, a major chipmaker, declining 2.14 percent to 91,400 won.

LG Chem, a leading chemical firm, was down 0.44 percent to 337,000 won, and steelmaker Posco remained flat at 339,500 won.

The secondary Kosdaq inched up 3.56 points, or 0.40 percent, to 883.22. The tech-heavy index gained as institutions and foreigners bought large-cap pharmaceutical shares.

Foreigners bought a net 55.6 billion won while institutions purchased a net 32 billion won. Individuals sold a net 80.2 billion won.

The local currency closed at 1,075.00 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.7 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds fell 0.2 basis points to 2.19 percent, and the return on 10-year government bonds dropped 0.8 points to 2.70 percent.

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