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Seoul stocks end higher on financial, chemical gains

All News 15:53 January 08, 2018

SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks finished higher Monday as investors scooped up market heavyweights, such as banking and chemical shares, analysts said. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 15.76 points, or 0.63 percent, to close at 2,513.28. Trade volume was moderate at 309 million shares worth 6.3 trillion won (US$6 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 474 to 336.

The local stock market opened higher taking a cue from overnight U.S. gains. All three major indices on Wall Street exceeded their previous closing records Friday on growing optimism in regards to corporate tax cuts and generally upbeat jobs data, analysts said.

"The index did not go further up as tech shares, which led the latest rally in the Seoul bourse, took a breather," said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities.

Foreigners bought a net 391 billion won worth of local stocks, while individuals and institutional investors offloaded 353 billion won and 85 billion won, respectively.

Samsung Electronics, the top cap here, surrendered 0.19 percent to end at 2,601,000 won ahead of the release of its fourth-quarter earnings guidance Tuesday. SK hynix, a major chipmaker, was down 1.39 percent to 78,200 won.

KB Financial, a major banking group, advanced 3.9 percent to 66,600 won, and Samsung Life Insurance was up 1.23 percent to 123,000 won.

LG Chem, the country's leading chemical company, soared 4.81 percent to 424,500 won, and No. 2 player Lotte Chemical jumped 9.1 percent to end at 383,500 won.

Other shares across the board also remained in positive terrain, with No. 1 carmaker Hyundai Motor gaining 1.34 percent to 151,000 won. Its smaller affiliate Kia Motors added 1.41 percent to 32,400 won.

Top steelmaker POSCO rose 0.41 percent to 369,500 won, and Naver, the largest Internet portal operator here, increased 4.63 percent to finish at 950,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,066.00 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3.3 won from the previous session's close.

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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