Seoul stocks up on Fed’s comments, improved China data

SEOUL-- South Korean stocks rebounded Thursday as investors are relieved by the U.S. Federal Reserve's reiteration of its dovish stance, with China's economic indicators signaling that the global recovery is on track. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 21.41 points, or 0.66 percent, to close at 3,286.22 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 1.2 billion shares worth some 13.4 trillion won (US$11.7 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 522 to 306.

Foreigners bought a net 99 billion won, while retail investors sold 338 billion won. Institutions purchased a net 208 billion won.

Stocks opened higher, taking a cue from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's reassurance that the time is not ripe for an early tapering of accommodative policies.

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.13 percent, and the S&P 500 advanced 0.12 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.22 percent.

The Bank of Korea also froze its policy interest rate at a record low of 0.5 percent in a widely expected move amid spiking virus cases.

The KOSPI steadily gained ground in the afternoon session as China's consumer spending showed balanced recovery since last year, though its second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) came short of market consensus.

"China's real economy came out better than expected, which seems to have fueled optimism for the Korean economy as well," Mirae Asset analyst Seo Sang-young said.

In Seoul, market bellwether Samsung Electronics increased 1.38 percent to 80,600 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix closed unchanged at 123,500 won.

Internet portal operator Naver gained 1.13 percent to 449,000 won, and leading chemical firm LG Chem shed 3.08 percent to 818,000 won.

Giant pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics added 1.16 percent to 874,000 won, and top automaker Hyundai Motor climbed 0.65 percent to 231,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,141.5 won against the U.S. dollar, up 7 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys soared 10.7 basis points to 1.497 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond jumped 6.4 basis points to 1.753 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency