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Seoul stocks up 0.62 pct on upbeat data, Apple's sound earnings

All Headlines 15:53 February 01, 2017

SEOUL, Feb. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks finished higher Wednesday as healthy economic data and sound earnings from Apple Inc. boosted investor sentiment here. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) went up 12.91 points, or 0.62 percent, to close at 2,080.48. Trade volume was moderate at 440 million shares worth 4.36 trillion won (US$3.77 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 597 to 200.

The local stock market opened a tad higher as automakers and other market heavyweights rebounded from the previous session's rout sparked by the Trump administration's travel ban.

"Apple's earnings release, which turned out to be better than expected, coupled with sound economic data, helped the local stock market rebound," said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities.

South Korea's exports rose 11.2 percent in January from a year earlier on brisk overseas sales of semiconductors and petrochemicals, the first time since January 2013 that the nation's exports have posted double-digit growth. Also for the first time in 33 months, exports expanded for three months in a row.

Top cap Samsung Electronics ended at 1,975,600 won, down 0.86 percent from the previous session's close.

SK hynix, a major chipmaker, continued to build up gains, rising 0.56 percent to a record high of 54,000 won on hopes of improved earnings.

POSCO, the country's leading steelmaker, rose 2.58 percent to end at 278,000 won.

LG Chem, the country's No. 1 chemicals firm, advanced 4.01 percent to end at 272,500 won, and SK Innovation, the leading oil refiner, climbed 0.96 percent to end at 158,500 won.

Automakers also rebounded from their dip caused by cloudy earnings outlook.

Auto industry leader Hyundai Motor remained flat at 139,500 won, while its smaller affiliate Kia Motors rose 0.27 percent to 36,500 won. The automaking group's auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis went up 1.24 percent to end at 245,000 won, following a 9 percent dip in the previous session on its weaker-than-expected earnings.

The local currency closed at 1,158.10 won against the U.S. dollar, up 4 won from the previous session's close.

sam@yna.co.kr
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