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(LEAD) Seoul stocks end higher on tech, steel gains

2018/01/03 16:33

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(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Jan. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks extended their gains to a fourth day Wednesday, as investors scooped up market heavyweights such as Samsung Electronics and steelmakers, analysts said. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 6.7 points, or 0.27 percent, to close at 2,486.35. Trade volume was moderate at 327 million shares, worth 6 trillion won (US$5.6 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 408 to 401.

The local stock market opened higher on the back of overnight gains on Wall Street.

"The rise of U.S. tech shares with expectations of improved earnings was a positive factor for the local bourse," said Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities.

Foreign investors bought a net 400 billion won worth of local stocks, while institutional investors and individuals dumped a net 398 billion won and 24 billion won, respectively.

Samsung Electronics, the top market cap in South Korea, gained 1.18 percent to close at 2,581,000 won, and SK hynix, a major chipmaker, rose 1.44 percent to 77,700 won.

Steel shares also led the bourse, with POSCO, South Korea's top steelmaker, soaring 5.46 percent to finish at 357,500 won amid expectations of strong earnings. Its rival Hyundai Steel jumped 2.62 percent to close at 58,700 won.

Hyundai Motor, South Korea's top carmaker, climbed 0.67 percent to 150,500 won, while its smaller affiliate Kia Motors shed 0.61 percent to finish at 32,600 won.

Hyundai Mobis, the country's largest auto-parts maker, was down 0.19 percent to 256,500 won.

LG Chem, a major chemicals firm, ended 0.36 percent lower at 409,500 won, and AmorePacific, the country's No. 1 cosmetics firm, moved down 0.32 percent to 311,500 won.

Naver, the country's largest online portal operator, surrendered 1.58 percent to 871,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,064.50 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3.3 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year Treasury bonds gained 0.8 basis point to 2.127 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds rose 0.6 basis points to 2.344 percent.

scaaet@yna.co.kr

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