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(LEAD) Seoul stocks end higher on bio, auto gains

All Headlines 16:35 June 01, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS graphic image, bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares ended higher Friday, led by gains made by heavyweight bio and auto stocks, analysts said. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korean Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 15.95 points, or 0.66 percent, to finish at 2,438.96. Trade volume was relatively large at 596 million shares worth 8.6 trillion won (US$8 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 415 to 407.

The local stock market opened nearly flat after the United States announced tariffs on imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, but gained ground on heavy buying by foreign investors.

"Foreign investors led the market, boosted by strong economic data," Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities, said, referring to the country's May trade balance and the industrial output for April.

South Korea's exports spiked 13.5 percent on-year in May, rebounding from a brief dip in the previous month.

Foreigners bought 233.5 billion won worth of local stocks more than they sold, while individual and institutional investors dumped a net 132 billion won and 118 billion won, respectively.

Bio shares led the rally, with pharmaceutical giant Celltrion advancing 3.01 percent to close at 273,500 won.

Samsung Biologics jumped 3.79 percent to 451,500 won after financial authorities wrapped up reviewing the company's alleged accounting irregularities the previous day. Details of the review were not disclosed due to a confidentiality agreement.

The results will be delivered to a subcommission under the country's financial regulator, which will hold a meeting next week in a bid to reach a final ruling.

Auto shares were also among the winners with No. 1 carmaker Hyundai Motor edging up 0.72 percent to 140,000 won.

Its smaller affiliate Kia Motors gained 2.41 percent to 31,900 won, and auto parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis soared 3.9 percent to 226,500 won.

Tech shares were mixed, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics adding 1.18 percent to close at 51,300 won, and SK hynix, a major chipmaker, declining 2.14 percent to 91,400 won.

LG Chem, a leading chemical firm, was down 0.44 percent to 337,000 won, and steelmaker POSCO remained flat at 339,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,075.00 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.7 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 0.2 basis point to 2.193 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds remained unchanged at 2.479 percent.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks end higher on bio, auto gains - 1

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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