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S. Korean stocks trade higher on hope of contained fallout

All News 11:31 April 01, 2020

SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks traded higher late Wednesday morning on better-than-expected export figures that suggested the fallout from the new coronavirus outbreak may be somewhat limited.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 2.62 points, or 0.15 percent, to reach 1,757.26 as of 11:20 a.m.

The index opened slightly lower, losing 10.07 points, or 0.57 percent, in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The weak start followed overnight losses on Wall Street on Tuesday (New York time), when U.S. President Donald Trump noted his country may have yet to see the worst in the coronavirus pandemic, saying the next two weeks may be "very, very painful."

Park Jong-dae, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment, said South Korea's stock market may show "different" movements from that of the United States because "the coronavirus outbreak is stabilizing only in China and South Korea."

South Korea has so far reported over 9,800 infection cases of COVID-19, but its daily increase has recently remained at around 100 or fewer cases.

Earlier, the Seoul government said the country's exports only inched down 0.2 percent on-year to US$46.9 billion in March.

The reading marks a turnaround from a 4.5 percent increase in February but comes after a 10.3 percent on-year plunge in 2019 that marked the sharpest drop in exports in 10 years.

In Seoul, large caps traded mixed.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics shed 0.21 percent, with No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix plunging 1.20 percent.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor gained 0.34 percent, while Kia Motors spiked 2.88 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,218.45 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.05 won from the previous session's close.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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