Seoul stocks close up over 1 pct on chip, battery gains

SEOUL– Seoul stocks closed over 1 percent higher Friday, continuing a three-day winning streak, as foreign and institutional investors picked up Samsung Electronics and other large caps. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) jumped 25.32 points, or 1.12 percent, to close at 2,289.97 points. For this week, the KOSPI rose around 2.4 percent.

Trading volume was moderate at about 388.2 million shares worth some 6.6 trillion won (US$5.2 billion). Winners outnumbered losers 602 to 262.

The KOSPI got off to a weak start, but soon turned upward and gained ground, once touching the 2,300-point mark in the afternoon before giving up some of the gains before the market closed.

Foreign and institutional investors were net buyers, purchasing a combined 558.9 billion won worth of shares. Retail investors sold off 567.1 billion won in net value.

“Friday’s rise in the KOSPI was boosted by all sectors across the board, including chips, batteries and financiers, compared with Wednesday, when semiconductor shares were lead gainers,” said analyst Lee Kyoung-min of Daishin Securities.

“Investors are betting high that Samsung Electronics could start reducing chip production following its worse-than-expected earnings guidance. There are hopes this could improve weak semiconductor prices and eventually accelerate the sector’s recovery,” he added.

Most market heavyweights closed higher.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 1.37 percent to 59,000 won after announcing the lowest quarterly operating profit estimate in eight years.

No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix jumped 2.09 percent to 83,100 won, top auto maker Hyundai Motor gained 0.31 percent, and major chemical firm LG Chem advanced 2.24 percent.

IT shares lost ground. Portal operator Naver declined 0.54 percent to 185,000 won, and messenger app Kakao dipped 0.87 percent to 57,200 won.

The local currency closed at 1,268.6 won against the U.S. dollar, up 0.8 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 3.7 basis points to 3.681 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 1.7 basis points to 3.624 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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