Seoul stocks up for 3rd session on optimism about Ukraine uncertainties

SEOUL-- South Korean stocks advanced for a third consecutive session Wednesday amid continued military tensions in Ukraine and hopes a full-scale war may be avoided. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) edged up 4.34 points, or 0.16 percent, to close at 2,703.52 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 519 million shares worth some 10.8 trillion won (US$8.9 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 645 to 228.

Foreigners offloaded a net 307 billion won, and institutions sold 133 billion won, while retail investors bought 428 billion won.

The key stock index rebounded after choppy trading, as investors remained cautious amid the Ukraine tensions.

The United States and the Western countries froze some Russian assets in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

Overnight, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite lost 1.59 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 1.76 percent, largely on concerns that the Ukraine tensions may push up the commodity prices and peg the global economic recovery.

"Russia may face economic plight if the sanctions last long. Investors seem to be expecting that chances are getting this for a full-scale war (in Ukraine)," said Shinhan Investment researcher Choi Yoo-joon.

In Seoul, market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.55 percent to 71,700 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix added 1.21 percent to 125,000 won.

Internet portal operator Naver retreated 0.31 percent to 317,000 won, and top carmaker Hyundai Motor decreased 2.57 percent to 170,500 won. Leading chemical firm LG Chem moved down 1.77 percent to 555,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,206.1 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3.8 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 5.5 basis points to 2.187 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 6.2 basis points to 2.406 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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