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(LEAD) Seoul shares edge up 0.06 pct on improved economic outlook
SEOUL, July 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed 0.06 percent higher Friday on improved economic outlook for advanced countries, analysts said. The local currency traded higher against the U.S. dollar.

   The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 1.2 points, or 0.06 percent, to close at 1,910.81. Trading volume was moderate at 316 million shares worth 3.75 trillion won (US$3.37 billion), with gainers outpacing losers 415 to 384.

   "Seoul shares edged up as the United States, Japan and the euro zone's economies are anticipated to recover down the road," said Kim Ji-hyun, a researcher at Tongyang Securities Co. "South Korea's economy is also expected to post a 3 percent growth in the second half."

   South Korea's gross domestic product grew 1.1 percent in the second quarter from three months earlier, quickening from a 0.8 percent on-quarter advance in the first quarter, the Bank of Korea said Thursday.

   Kim Sun-young, a researcher at IBK Investment & Securities Co., echoed the view, adding that the growth was limited as investors took a wait-and-see approach ahead of the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee and the European Central Bank's meetings slated next week.

   Foreigners purchased more shares than they sold at a net 166 billion won. In contrast, retailers and institutions offloaded a net 98 billion won and 68.1 billion won, respectively.

   SK Innovation, the holding company of South Korea's top refiner SK Energy, climbed 2.72 percent to 151,000 won after reports the firm has returned to profit in the second quarter from a year earlier.

   The company's net income came to 271 billion won in the April-June period, compared with a net loss of 238.4 billion won a year ago.

   Carmakers also gathered ground, with No. 1 Hyundai Motor rising 0.45 percent to 225,500 won and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors adding 0.66 percent to 61,200 won. Top auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis gained 0.77 percent to 262,500 won.

   NHN, South Korea's top Internet portal service provider, surged 7.5 percent to 301,000 won, as investors' appetite for the company whetted following reports that Facebook returned to profit in the second quarter.

   In contrast, market behemoth Samsung Electronics shed 0.01 percent to 1,303,000 won despite the company's report that its second-quarter profit spiked 49.6 percent from a year earlier, buoyed by robust shipments of its flagship Galaxy S smartphones and higher chip prices.

   Other tech shares also closed bearish, with top chipmaker SK hynix losing 1.57 percent to 28,150 won and LG Electronics falling 0.14 percent to 72,300 won. Top flat panel maker LG Display shed 1.23 percent to 28,050 won.

   The local currency ended at 1,111.10 won against the greenback, up 5 won from Thursday's close on the outlook that the U.S. may keep its quantitative easing moves down the road, dealers said.

   Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasuries shed 0.01 percentage point to 2.94 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds also lost 0.01 percentage point to 3.21 percent.