Seoul stocks hit 5-week high on U.S. stimulus plan

SEOUL-- South Korea's benchmark stock index closed at the highest in five weeks Thursday amid hopes for a massive infrastructure project by the United States. The Korean won slightly fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 25.98 points, or 0.85 percent, to close at 3,087.4 points, the highest since Feb. 25.

Trading volume was moderate at about 910 million shares worth some 13.8 trillion won (US$12.2 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 420 to 419.

Foreigners bought a net 567 billion won, the largest daily purchase amount in three weeks, while retail investors sold 407 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 162 billion won.

Overnight, U.S. President Joe Biden announced a US$2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal that is expected to quicken the global economic rebound and benefit local exporters.

"The size of the Biden administration's infrastructure spending helped improve investor sentiment, with their buying centering on chipmakers and other market heavyweights," said Shinhan Investment researcher Choi Yoo-joon.

In Seoul, top cap Samsung Electronics added 1.84 percent to 82,900 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix spiked up 6.04 percent to 140,500 won, as brokerages forecast their earnings to hike.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor moved up 0.46 percent to 219,000 won, and internet portal operator Naver advanced 0.4 percent to 378,500 won. Leading chemical firm LG Chem gained 1.74 percent to 819,000 won, while pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics edged down 0.13 percent to 747,000 won.

SK Innovation surged 10.27 percent to 241,500 won, as the company won a preliminary ruling in a patent lawsuit against LG Energy Solution in the U.S.

The local currency closed at 1,131.9 won against the U.S. dollar, down 0.1 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 0.5 basis point to 1.138 percent, while the return on the benchmark five-year government bond lost 2.1 basis points to 1.580 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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