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(LEAD) Seoul shares end higher on Fed comments, China monetary easing

All News 16:36 January 07, 2019

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

SEOUL, Jan. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares ended higher Monday on renewed appetite for risk assets following a dovish turn by the Federal Reserve and an easing of monetary policy in China. The won rose against the dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 26.85 points, or 1.34 percent, to 2,037.10. Trading volume was moderate at 428.1 million shares, worth 5.13 trillion won (US$4.6 billion), with gainers exceeding decliners 649 to 208.

Institutional investors and foreigners bought a combined 219.2 billion won worth of stocks, giving a boost to the KOSPI index. But individuals sold a net 204.23 billion stocks.

Demand for the dollar fell as Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank needs to be flexible in policy decisions this year to ease market worries about a slowdown. It led to an increased appetite for risk assets in emerging markets, analysts said.

They expect the Korean stock market will be directly affected by the outcome of the trade negotiations between the world's two biggest economies in coming months.

Tech, auto and steel stocks led gains, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. jumping 3.47 percent to 38,750 won, leading steelmaker POSCO climbing 2.93 percent to 246,000 won and top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. up 0.84 percent to 120,500 won.

Among decliners, dominant tobacco company KT&G Corp. fell 0.50 percent to 100,000 won, and No. 2 tiremaker Kumho Tire Co. shedded 2.08 percent to close at 5,170 won.

The South Korean won traded at 1,118.60 won against the U.S. greenback, up 5.90 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed down. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 1.0 basis point to 1.807 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds climbed 1.1 basis points to 1.877 percent.

(LEAD) Seoul shares end higher on Fed comments, China monetary easing - 1


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