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(LEAD) Seoul stocks edge up despite lingering concerns over trade war

2018/07/12 16:48

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(ATTN: ADDS photo, bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, July 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed higher Thursday after tumbling the previous session over the trade dispute between the United States and China. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 4.44 points, or 0.19 percent, to close at 2,285.06. Trade volume was moderate at 353 million shares worth 6 trillion won (US$5.33 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 488 to 317.

The local stock market opened slightly higher led by gains in large-cap bio and chemical shares and further extended gains in the late afternoon after the Bank of Korea froze the key rate for July.

In November last year, the central bank adjusted up the rate for the first time in more than six years, citing economic recovery.

"The trade war issue has been continuously reflected in the market. It is about time to focus more on earnings than the trade dispute," said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities.

Individuals bought a net 82 billion won worth of local stocks, while institutions and foreign investors dumped a net 84.7 billion won and 14 billion won worth of shares, respectively.

Top cap Samsung Electronics retreated 1.09 percent to close at 45,500 won, and SK hynix, a major chipmaker, was down 1.38 percent to 85,600 won.

Bio shares were bullish, with pharmaceutical firm Celltrion jumping 4.16 percent to close at 288,000 won, and Samsung Biologics, the healthcare unit of Samsung Group, soaring 3.37 percent to 429,000 won.

Autos also led the index with top carmaker Hyundai Motor gaining 1.23 percent to 123,000 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors moving up 1.46 percent to close at 31,350 won.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem lost 0.77 percent to close at 323,500 won, while Lotte Chemical increased 3.43 percent to 346,500 won.

No. 1 steelmaker POSCO fell 0.32 percent to 31,000 won, while Naver, the country's largest portal operator, was up 1.69 percent to 782,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,125.90 won against the U.S. dollar, down 5.9 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 3.6 basis points to 2.090 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds increased 3.0 basis points to 2.331 percent.

An electronic sign at KEB Hana Bank in Seoul shows the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ending the trading session at 2,285.06 on July 12, 2018. (Yonhap) An electronic sign at KEB Hana Bank in Seoul shows the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ending the trading session at 2,285.06 on July 12, 2018. (Yonhap)

scaaet@yna.co.kr

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