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(LEAD) Seoul stocks end higher on hopes for peace on Korean Peninsula

All Headlines 17:06 June 11, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, June 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares ended higher Monday as the upcoming summit between the United States and North Korea raised hope for eased tensions on the Korean Peninsula and greater chances for inter-Korean economic projects, analysts said. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korean Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 18.57 points, or 0.76 percent, to finish at 2,470.15. Trade volume was moderate at 414.29 million shares worth 6.81 trillion won (US$6.34 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 543 to 270.

After opening a tad higher, the index saw choppy trade, fluctuating between positive and negative terrain.

But institutions drove the index upward by scooping up a net 282.1 billion won in local shares, while foreign and retail investors dumped 9.8 billion won and 258.6 billion won worth of holdings.

"Despite uncertainties, the planned summit seems to serve as a positive source for the market at least for now, as investors expect such peace events to have a positive impact on the Korean market both in short and long-term perspectives," said Noh Dong-gil, an expert at Shinhan Securities.

On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will hold a historic summit in Singapore for a showdown on the North's nuclear ambitions.

Shares of infrastructure-related companies, such as builders, steelmakers, and electric firms, had a bullish day as they are expected to benefit from a thaw in inter-Korean ties and the subsequent increased chances for joint development projects.

Top steelmaker POSCO rose 3.33 percent to 372,000 won, and its smaller rival Hyundai Steel advanced 2.63 percent to 62,400 won.

Train manufacturer Hyundai Rotem surged 4.92 percent to 38,400 won, Hyundai Construction jumped 7.59 percent to 72,300 won and Hyundai Cement spiked 29.86 percent to 80,900 won. State utility firm Korea Electric Power increased 3.08 percent to 35,100 won.

Key semiconductor makers also finished higher on the back of positive forecasts for second-quarter earnings. Top cap Samsung Electronics moved up 0.50 percent to 49,900 won, and SK hynix rose 0.90 percent to 89,200 won.

But auto shares suffered losses, with leading carmaker Hyundai Motor falling 1.06 percent to 139,500 won and its corporate cousin Kia Motors skidding 1.51 percent to 32,600 won.

Bio shares also were down, with pharmaceutical giant Celltrion losing 0.74 percent to 267,500 won and Samsung Biologics, the healthcare unit of Samsung Group, decreasing 0.24 percent 420,000 won.

The South Korean currency closed at 1,075.20 won against the U.S. dollar, up 0.7 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 3.4 basis points to 2.223 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds gained 1.4 basis points to 2.499 percent.

This combined image shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) and U.S. President Donald Trump, along with their key aides. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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