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(LEAD) KOSPI ends higher on institutional buying

2018/01/12 16:54

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(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Jan. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks finished higher Friday as institutions bought undervalued stocks following a correction after a Wall Street rally lifted investor sentiment. The won firmed against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) increased 8.51 points, or 0.34 percent, to close at 2,496.42. Trade volume was moderate at 432.73 million shares worth 8.63 trillion won (US$ 8.1 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 472 to 362.

The local market ended a three-day losing streak to recover as institutions went bargain hunting. Wall Street closed at a record high Thursday as a rise in oil prices to a three-year high lifted energy stocks.

"Latest export data showed robust growth, giving a positive signal to investors," Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities, said. "With a lack of strong upward momentum, sectors showed different movement ahead of the earnings season."

   Institutions bought a net 155.25 billion won worth of stocks, while foreigners and retail investors offloaded a net 107.21 billion won and 88.34 billion won, respectively.

Tech shares had a mixed day. Top market cap Samsung Electronics inched down 0.08 percent to 2,410,000 won, marking five consecutive days of falls, while SK hynix, a major chipmaker, rose 2.48 percent to 74,400 won.

Leading automaker Hyundai Motor slipped 0.65 percent to 154,000 won, and top steelmaker POSCO jumped 5.46 percent to 386,500 won.

Samsung Biologics, Samsung's bio affiliate, gained 4.79 percent to 416,000 won.

The tech-heavy KOSDAQ rose 2.41 percent to end at 873.05 points on a sharp surge in leading bio shares, helped by the government's announcement of tax incentives and eased listing rules.

It soared nearly 4 percent shortly before 2 p.m., leading to a sidecar order, a five-minute trading suspension adopted in case of a sudden market fluctuation. The order was issued for the first time since June 2016, when Britain voted to exit the European Union.

The Korean won closed at 1,064.8 won against the U.S. dollar, up 7.2 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year Treasury bonds added 2.2 basis points to 2.174 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds gained 2 basis points to 2.430 percent.

ejkim@yna.co.kr

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