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Kospi reaches its highest level since June 29

Sept 21,2018
Korea’s main bourse closed higher Thursday, as investor sentiment was boosted by upbeat corporate earnings forecasts and positive assessments of the outcome of the inter-Korean summit. The Korean won appreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi added 14.99 points, or 0.65 percent, to 2,323.45, hitting its highest level since June 29. Trade volume was moderate at 6.33 trillion won ($5.65 billion).

After opening higher, the index further extended its gains on the back of solid buying by offshore investors, who scooped up a net 310.9 billion won worth of local shares, along with institutions who picked up shares worth 89.1 billion won. That offset individuals’ net sales of 418.1 billion won of local shares.

“Investors welcomed the news that Samsung Electronics is forecast to report solid earnings in the third quarter,” said Kim Yoo-kyeom, an analyst at Cape Investment & Securities.

“They also saw the inter-Korean summit as a positive market factor, hoping that the agreement for joint peace efforts would help ease geopolitical risks on the Korean Peninsula,” he added.

Big-cap tech shares led the upturn.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics surged 2.38 percent to 47,250 won, and its smaller rival LG Electronics advanced 1.17 percent to 69,000 won. SK Hynix also grew 0.38 percent to 79,100 won.

Bio shares overall gathered ground, though top-cap ones were mixed with pharmaceutical giant Celltrion tumbling 3.1 percent to 296,500 won and Samsung BioLogics jumping 4.14 percent to 528,000 won.

Auto shares finished higher. Top carmaker Hyundai Motor soared 1.98 percent to 129,000 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motor went up 0.87 percent to 34,850 won.

Insurance also rose, as some market uncertainties eased after Korea’s financial watchdog set the date to announce a comprehensive reform plan for insurance firms in December. Samsung Life Insurance rose 1.44 percent to 91,700 won, and DB Insurance advanced 1.56 percent to 65,100 won.

The secondary Kosdaq fell 5.78 points, or 0.70 percent, to 821.13, weighed down by foreign and institutional selling of major IT shares.

The Korean won closed at 1,120.40 won against the U.S. dollar, down 0.70 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year bonds gained 3.9 basis points to 2.04 percent, and the return on 10-year bonds increased 5.4 basis points to 2.43 percent.

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