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Kospi up partly thanks to Pyongyang summit

Sept 22,2018
Korean stocks ended higher Friday, as investor sentiment was buoyed by a record close on Wall Street and eased concerns over global trade disputes. The Korean won appreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi added 15.72 points, or 0.68 percent, to 2,339.17. Trade volume was moderate at 7.06 trillion won ($6.33 billion).

The index opened higher, tracking the U.S. market, and rose further thanks to solid buying by foreign investors, who picked up a net 823 billion won worth of local shares. Institutions sold a net 77 billion won, while retailers shed a net 207.8 billion won.

On Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average spiked 0.95 percent to hit a new record and the U.S. Nasdaq surged 0.98 percent as investors focused on upbeat signs of strong economic growth.

“Hopes for possible dialogue to settle trade friction between the U.S. and China still run high,” said Kim Yoo-kyun, an analyst at Cape Investment & Securities.

“Eased geographical concerns on the Korean Peninsula also helped give related shares upward momentum,” he added.

Bio firms and chemicals led the market’s upturn.

Pharmaceutical giant Celltrion surged 2.02 percent to 302,500 won, and Samsung BioLogics advanced 0.38 percent to 530,000 won.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem increased 1.66 percent to 367,000 won, while refiner S-Oil went up 1.16 percent to 130,500 won. Top steelmaker Posco soared 2.01 percent to 304,500 won.

Insurance also rose. Samsung Life Insurance spiked 4.69 percent to 96,000 won and DB Insurance jumped 2.46 percent to 66,700 won.

Financials gained ground on expectations of a Federal Reserve rate hike in the U.S. next week, which could lead to a similar move in Korea. KB Financial Group moved up 3.30 percent to 53,200 won and Shinhan Financial rose 2.20 percent to 44,200 won.

The secondary Kosdaq rose 6.71 points, or 0.82 percent, to 827.84 on bargain hunting by foreign investors.

Next week, the stock market will be closed Monday through Wednesday for the Chuseok holiday.

The Korean won closed at 1,115.30 won against the U.S. dollar, down 5.1 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year bonds shed 1.3 basis points to 2.02 percent, and the return on 10-year bonds decreased 1.6 basis points to 2.41 percent.

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