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(LEAD) Seoul stocks hit 9-month high ahead of Sino-U.S. trade deal, Korean won sharply up

All News 16:44 January 13, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS photo and bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Jan. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks jumped more than 1 percent Monday to extend their winning streak to a third day, as foreign investors scooped up major chip shares as the signing of a Sino-American trade deal nears. The South Korean won sharply rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 22.87 points, or 1.04 percent, to close at 2,229.26, marking its highest point since April 17, when it reached 2,245.89 points.

Trade volume was moderate at 480 million shares worth 6.1 trillion won (US$5.3 billion), with gainers far outnumbering losers 594 to 248.

An electronic signboard at KEB Hana Bank in Seoul shows the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) up 1.04 percent to close at 2,229.26 points on Jan. 13, 2020. (Yonhap)

Foreign investors maintained their net buying position for the seventh straight session to scoop up a net 258.1 billion won, while individuals and institutions offloaded a net 49.4 billion won and 214.5 billion won, respectively.

With signs of a recovery in chip prices, investors have been rushing to chipmakers and have remained hopeful as the United States and China are scheduled to sign their Phase 1 trade deal in Washington later this week, possibly ending a tariff war between the world's two largest economies.

Market behemoth Samsung Electronics extended its winning streak to a fifth day, rising 0.84 percent to end at a fresh record high of 60,000 won. No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix was 1.62 percent higher, ending at an all-time high of 100,500 won.

"DRAM prices will continue to rise in the second quarter, which will eventually lead to improved earnings for Samsung Electronics throughout the year," Choi Yoo-june, an analyst at Shinhan Financial Investment, said.

Chemicals shares were also bullish, with industry leader LG Chem gaining 2.31 percent to reach 332,500 won.

Cosmetics makers also advanced on hopes that China's economic sanctions against South Korea over the deployment of a U.S.-led missile defense scheme may be lifted.

Top producer AmorePacific was up 5.22 percent at 232,000 won, and LG Household & Health Care surged 4.54 percent to 1,404,000 won.

Bio shares were in positive terrain, with pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics increasing 0.92 percent to end at 440,500 won. Another bio firm, Celltrion, added 1.13 percent to hit 179,500 won.

Auto shares were mixed. Leading automaker Hyundai Motor moved up 1.32 percent to 115,000 won, while its smaller sister company, Kia Motor, was 0.12 percent higher at 40,450 won. In contrast, auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis fell 1.02 percent to 242,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,156 won against the U.S. dollar, sharply up 5.3 won from the previous session's close, on risk-off sentiment.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.7 basis point to stand at 1.418 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 0.4 basis point to reach 1.550 percent.


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