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(LEAD) Seoul shares spike 1.4 pct on eased trade concern

All Headlines 16:43 December 12, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom; CHANGES photo)

SEOUL, Dec. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks soared Wednesday as signs of progress in trade talks between the United States and China helped investors brush aside concerns over the global economic slowdown, experts said. The South Korean won strengthened against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 29.60 points, or 1.44 percent, to 2.082.57. Trading volume was moderate at 439.40 million shares worth 5.29 trillion won (US$4.69 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 652 to 190.

Institutions led the upswing by purchasing a net 311.3 billion won worth of local shares, while retailers and foreign investors offloaded shares worth 267.7 billion won and 46.5 billion won, respectively.

"The news that Huawei Technologies Co.'s chief financial officer was granted bail seems to have assuaged investors who had been jittery over the further escalation of the U.S.-China trade war," said Lee Kyung-min, an expert at Daeshin Securities.

The Chinese businessperson had been arrested early this month in Canada on fraud charges. After the court decision, U.S. President Donald Trump said he would intervene in the case if it would help win a trade deal with Beijing.

"Given that the KOSPI has been undervalued, the index is forecast to have upward momentum for time being, though concerns over the slowing global economy could cause volatility," the analyst added.

Most blue-chip shares gathered ground, with tech and bio shares leading the overall advance.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics increased 0.5 percent to 40,450 won, and major chipmaker SK hynix surged 2.00 percent to 66,200 won.

Pharmaceutical giant Celltrion advanced 2.95 percent to 226,500 won following big losses in the previous session, and Samsung BioLogics inched up 0.13 percent to 394,500 won.

Automakers were also among the biggest gainers on news that China was moving to cut tariffs on cars.

Hyundai Motor spiked 6.28 percent to 118,500 won, after the leading carmaker announced a sweeping executive reshuffle as well as an investment plan for fuel cell technologies. Its affiliate Kia Motors soared 3.03 percent to 32,350 won.

Telecom and utility shares remained in negative terrain.

No. 1 wireless services firm SK Telecom lost 1.57 percent to 283,000 won, and state-run utility firm Korea Electric Power Corp. tumbled 1.84 percent to 32,000 won on profit-taking.

The local currency closed at 1,128.5 won against the U.S. dollar, up 1.6 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 1.1 basis points to 1.803 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds added 3.4 basis points to 1.907 percent.

(LEAD) Seoul shares spike 1.4 pct on eased trade concern - 1

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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