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(LEAD) Seoul shares up for third day on tech gains; Korean won sharply rises

All Headlines 16:50 June 03, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES details, in paras 3-4, 12-13; ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, June 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks rose for the third consecutive session on Monday on the back of gains in tech stocks and a massive buying binge by foreign investors, bucking the trend of sell-off in other key Asian markets. The local currency sharply rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) surged 26.11 points, or 1.28 percent, to 2,067.85. Trading volume was moderate at 381 million shares worth 4.58 trillion won (US$3.87 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 417 to 417.

The index started lower but rebounded and expanded the advance as foreigners were on a buying spree of market heavyweights across the board on cautious hopes of renewed trade talks between Washington and Beijing.

China issued a white paper on Sunday blaming the Donald Trump administration for a prolonged trade dispute, while demonstrating its stance on continued trade consultations to ease tensions.

"Foreign traders remained net buyers of local shares for the third consecutive session to help lift the overall market," Yoon Jung-seon, an analyst at KB Investment & Securities, said. "Although there was no clear upward momentum on concerns over the U.S.-China trade war, foreign buying of undervalued tech stocks helped buttress the local stock market."

Foreigners bought a net 291.5 billion won worth of stocks, while institutions and retail investors offloaded a net 98.2 billion won and 193.8 billion won, respectively.

Tech shares were among the top performers of the day.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics jumped 3.06 percent to 43,800 won after its vice chairman Lee Jae-yong held a meeting with top executives over the weekend to deal with the weak memory and handset market and uncertainties over the trade tension between Washington and Beijing.

SK hynix, the world's No. 2 memory chip maker, increased 1.99 percent to 66,600 won, and home appliance maker LG Electronics rose 3.05 percent to 81,000 won.

Netmarble, the nation's second-largest game company, scored 4.8 percent to 120,000 won after it has joined a bid to buy a controlling stake of the holding firm of Nexon, its bigger gaming rival, competing against messaging app company Kakao and three other private equity funds.

In contrast, Samsung Engineering, a major industrial plant builder, plunged 9.88 percent to 15,050 won on an announcement that it has filed for arbitration over 723.2 billion won in compensation demanded by its consortium partner in the canceled contract to build a power and desalination plant in Saudi Arabia.

The South Korean won closed at 1,182.1 won against the U.S. dollar, up 8.8 won from the previous session's close. It was the biggest daily gain of the year.

The local currency's gain was in line with the dollar's decline versus other major currencies and was backed by foreign investors' buying binge of local stocks.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 0.7 basis point to 1.619 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds dropped 1.2 basis points to 1.575 percent.

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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