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Seoul stocks end up on China data with trade deal in focus

Economy 16:10 December 02, 2019

SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares ended higher Monday as investors cheered positive Chinese factory activity while remaining hopeful for a U.S.-China trade deal, but foreign sell-offs continued for the 18th straight session. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 3.96 points, or 0.19 percent, to close at 2,091.92. Trading volume was moderate at 369.62 million shares worth 3.96 trillion won (US$3.34 billion), with losers outnumbering winners 448 to 364.

The main index ended in positive territory as investors' appetite for risky assets revived following a better-than-expected data on the Chinese manufacturing sector, analysts said.

China's PMI, a key gauge of activity in the country's factories, rebounded last month for the first time in seven months.

Institutions and individuals bought a combined 359 billion won worth of stocks, offsetting foreign selling valued at 392 billion won.

Foreigners were net sellers for the 18th consecutive session, the longest selling streak since January 2013, when they sold local shares for 22 consecutive sessions.

On Monday, the KOSPI trimmed earlier gains after opening higher as investors remain concerned over the trade talks after a Chinese newspaper reported that Beijing wants all tariffs rolled back as part of a phase-one deal and U.S. President Donald Trump last week signed a law supporting Hong Kong protesters, analysts said.

"Investors are now closely watching whether Washington and Beijing will sign a mini trade deal or not in the next two weeks," said NH Securities analyst Noh Dong-kil. "If they fail to make a deal by mid-December, the U.S. is expected to impose 15 percent tariffs on ($156 billion worth of) Chinese products on Dec. 15, causing a further escalation in their trade war."

Large-cap stocks in Seoul were mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. rose 0.2 percent to 50,400 won, but No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. fell 0.5 percent to 80,500 won.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. climbed 0.4 percent to 121,500 won, while its smaller affiliate Kia Motors Corp. declined 1.4 percent to 42,650 won.

State-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp. gained 1.3 percent to reach 28,250 won, but national flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co. was flat at 24,750 won.

The Korean won closed at 1,183.10 won per dollar, down 1.90 won from the previous session.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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