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S. Korean shares end 2010 on high note

All Headlines 16:49 December 30, 2010

SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares jumped more than 20 percent this year, fueled by a strong inflow of foreign liquidity and a solid economic recovery, the local bourse operator said Thursday.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 2,051 on Thursday, the last trading session of this year, up 21.9 percent from 1,696.14 on Jan. 4, the Korea Exchange (KRX) said in a statement.

Thursday's figure was the highest close since Nov. 6, 2007, and close to its record high of 2,064.85 recorded on Oct. 31, 2007.

The 2010 climb ranks as the fifth-highest among the Group of 20 countries, according to the KRX. Argentina's stock increase topped the list with 51.8 percent, followed by Indonesia at 46.0 percent, Turkey at 26.3 percent and Russia at 22.4 percent, it added.

The bull run came as offshore investors beefed up their holdings in South Korean stocks amid the country's sturdy economic growth, the KRX said.

Foreign net buying totaled 21 trillion won (US$18.5 billion) this year, marking a second year of net buying, according to the KRX. Institutions and retail investors, however, unloaded shares worth 12 trillion won and 5 trillion won, respectively.

By sector, blue-chip exporters were the market's best performers with shipbuilders, energy companies and automakers leading the gains.

The KOSPI saw its market capitalization reach a record 1,140 trillion won, the KRX said. The combined market cap of South Korea's 10 largest conglomerates, such as Samsung and Hyundai Motor, surged 35 percent from a year earlier to 671 trillion won, it added.


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