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(LEAD) Seoul stocks up for 2nd day on abated currency, trade woes

All Headlines 16:32 August 09, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)
By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares closed higher for the second straight session as concerns over a sharp decrease in the value of the Chinese yuan and the escalating row between the United States and China abated. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 17.14 points, or 0.89 percent, to 1,937.75. Trading volume was high at 644 million shares worth 4.91 trillion won (US$4 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 525 to 299.

The index rebounded on Thursday after hitting a three-year low, roiled by concerns over the mounting trade conflict between Washington and Beijing.

In its latest salvo, Washington designated China as a currency manipulator for the first time since 1994, raising concerns that the trade haggling may turn into a currency war.

Investors appear to be cautiously betting that the American-Sino trade feud is easing, with the two sides expected to sit again for negotiations.

"Investors are also relieved that the global economy is not deteriorating at a fast pace, after China announced strong trade data," Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities Co., said.

On top of the eased concerns over the trade row, investors got a relief as the trade dispute between South Korea and Japan took a pause.

On Thursday, the Seoul government said it held off a decision to remove Japan from its list of trusted trading partners after the neighboring country approved the first shipment of a restricted industrial material to South Korea.

Japan started restricting the exports of three key materials crucial for the production of chips and displays last month in apparent economic retaliation against a Seoul court's verdict that ordered Japanese firms to compensate victims of wartime forced labor.

The relationship of the two Asian neighbors furthered deteriorated when Tokyo early this week officially dropped South Korea from its so-called whitelist given preferential export procedures.

Retail investors bought a net 215 billion won worth of shares, while institutions dumped a net 231 billion won. Foreigners offloaded a net 2.3 billion won.

Top market cap Samsung Electronics closed 1.17 percent higher at 43,150 won, with No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix also moving up 1.38 percent at 73,300 won.

Leading pharmaceutical firm Celltrion gained 0.97 percent at 155,500 won and Samsung BioLogics added 8.02 percent at 269,500 won. Hanmi Pharmaceutical moved up 7.65 percent at 288,500 won.

Carmakers also finished bullish, with Hyundai Motor increasing 1.92 percent at 132,500 won, and its sister Kia Motors rising 0.93 percent at 43,450 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis climbed 2.96 percent at 243,500 won.

No. 1 steelmaker POSCO advanced 1.71 percent at 208,500 won, while Korea Zinc slid 0.67 percent at 444,000 won.

The Korean won closed at 1,210.50 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.30 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, sharply fell. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 2.1 basis points to 1.186 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond climbed 2.3 basis points to 1.225 percent.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks up for 2nd day on abated currency, trade woes - 1

colin@yna.co.kr
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