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(LEAD) Seoul stocks up for 2nd day on risk-taking

All News 16:32 February 12, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)

SEOUL, Feb. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed higher Wednesday, extending their winning streak to a second day on eased concerns over the outbreak of the new coronavirus, encouraging investors to begin taking risks. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar, also for a second consecutive session.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 15.26 points, or 0.69 percent, to close at 2,238.38. Trading volume was moderate at some 623 million shares worth about 6.8 trillion won (US$5.8 billion), with gainers narrowly beating losers 415 to 408.

The photo taken Feb. 12, 2020 shows the trading room at a KEB Hana Bank branch in Seoul. (Yonhap)

The index slipped into negative terrain earlier but rebounded on large cap gains, led by autos and pharmaceuticals, amid signs that the COVID-19 virus outbreak is taking a breather, prompting investors to be more open to risk-taking.

South Korea has reported 28 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus as of Wednesday, adding only one additional case since Sunday.

The KOSPI rose 1 percent on Tuesday, snapping a two-day losing streak.

Foreigners continued to offload local stocks for a third consecutive session, dumping a net 218 billion won on Wednesday. Institutions purchased a net 149 billion won, while individuals scooped a net 46 billion won.

Large caps were mixed.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics jumped 1 percent to 60,500 won, and major chipmaker SK hynix added 0.2 percent to close at 100,000 won.

Leading automaker Hyundai Motor spiked 2.64 percent to 136,000 won, one day after the carmaker and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors partially resumed the operation of production facilities that had been suspended since late last week due to a shortage of parts from their Chinese suppliers.

Kia Motors added 0.73 percent to close at 41,650 won.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics advanced 0.38 percent to 530,000 won, while Celltrion gained 0.29 percent to reach 174,000 won.

The won closed at 1,179.50 won per dollar, up 2.10 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.2 basis point to 1.297 percent, but the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 1.3 basis points to stand at 1.421 percent.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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