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(LEAD) Seoul shares soar on eurozone stimulus hopes

All News 15:57 January 22, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Jan. 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks surged Friday as investor sentiment was lifted by rising hopes for the eurozone's stimulus. The local currency closed sharply higher against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) soared 38.9 points, or 2.11 percent, to end at 1,879.43 after trading almost flat throughout the afternoon session. Trade volume was high at 400 million shares worth 4.34 trillion won (US$3.62 billion), with winners beating losers 599 to 210.

Analysts said investors were heartened by the latest remarks by the head of the European Central Bank (ECB) that it may consider additional quantitative easing.

"Investors are looking forward to additional stimulus measures by the ECB in March following the remark by Mario Draghi," said Kim Do-oun, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment Co.

Overseas investors sold a net 156 billion won, extending their sell-off run to 35th sessions, the longest selling streak ever, when excluding the net purchase observed on Jan. 6, following the block deal of Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd.

Individual investors also sold a net 200 billion won. Institutions scooped up a net 344 billion won.

Brokerage houses traded higher due to the rising possibility that the Korea Exchange may extend trading hours, with Samsung Securities rising 3.63 percent to 35,650 won and Daewoo Securities Co. adding 5.14 percent to 7,780 won.

Tech shares also closed bullish, with Samsung Electronics adding 3.27 percent to 1,168,000 won and top chipmaker SK hynix climbing 2.07 percent to 27,150 won. LG Electronics shot up 6.6 percent to 56,500 won.

Steelmakers also gained ground, with POSCO rising 3.21 percent to 161,000 won and Korea Zinc adding 2.44 percent to 419,000 won. Hyundai Steel climbed 2.74 percent to 45,050 won.

Mobile carriers traded mixed, with SK Telecom advancing 2.33 percent to 197,500 won and KT stepping down 0.19 percent to 26,450 won. LG Uplus, the smallest player, increased 0.55 percent to 9,160 won.

The local currency ended at 1,200.10 won against the greenback, up 13.6 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 1 basis point to 1.621 percent while the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds moved up 1 basis point to 1.760 percent.

colin@yna.co.kr
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