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Seoul stocks up on U.S.-Mexico trade optimism

All Headlines 15:59 June 07, 2019

SEOUL, June 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed slightly higher Friday, on cautious hope of eased trade tension between the United States and Mexico, but market sentiment appears to be on shaky ground. The local currency weakened against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) picked up 3.22 points, or 0.16 percent, to 2,072.33. Trading volume was moderate at 357.53 million shares worth 4.24 trillion won (US$3.59 billion), with winners far outnumbering losers 565 to 260.

The index swung between gains and losses to end a tad higher as institutions snapped up local shares to offset foreign sell-offs, which has lasted for three consecutive sessions.

The market sentiment improved after Wall Street shares climbed Thursday on reports that Washington may delay tariffs on Mexican imports due for Monday, but the White House said after the closing bell that the tariffs would go ahead as planned.

"Rising odds for Federal Reserve's rate cut and a potential trade deal between the U.S. and Mexico are positive factors for the local stock market, but foreigners weren't motivated to cling to buyer mode due to lingering concerns over South Korea's economic fundamentals," Yoon Jeong-seon, an analyst at KB Investment & Securities, said.

Institutions bought a net 65.7 billion won worth of local shares, while foreigners and retail investors sold a net 33.58 billion won and a net 39.86 billion won, respectively, to cap the gains.

Tech shares were up. Market behemoth Samsung Electronics edged up 0.68 percent to 44,200 won, and major chipmaker SK hynix rose 0.46 percent to 65,400 won.

In contrast, telecom and steel shares were bearish.

LG Uplus, the nation's No. 3 carrier, retreated 1.74 percent to 14,150 won on concerns that it may come under growing pressure to ditch Huawei equipment for its 5G base stations. Leading steelmaker POSCO declined 1.89 percent to 234,000 won.

Samsung Heavy Industries slipped 0.51 percent to 7,780 won after the shipbuilder said it has clinched a 450 billion won order to build two liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers for a Bermudan customer.

The South Korean won closed at 1,181.4 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.8 won from the previous session's close.

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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