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(LEAD) Seoul stocks end up on stimulus amid virus woes

All News 16:34 April 22, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS photo and bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, April 22 (Yonhap) -- Seoul stocks closed higher Wednesday, snapping a two-day losing streak, as investors reacted to the government's stimulus packages and await corporate earnings results amid coronavirus woes. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 16.77 points, or 0.89 percent, to close at 1,896.15. Trading volume was moderate at 805 million shares worth 9.3 trillion won (US$7.5 billion), with gainers outpacing losers 435 to 404.

The main index ended in the positive territory as oil prices recovered some of their record-setting losses and the government announced an expanded aid package for businesses hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, analysts said.

This photo taken on April 22, 2020, shows the dealing room of KB Kookmin Bank in Yeouido, western Seoul. (Yonhap)

The aid package will be increased to 135 trillion won from the previously set 100 trillion won to help virus-hit companies. Of the additional 35 trillion won, 20 trillion won will be spent to buy more corporate bonds and 10 trillion won will be extended to small businesses in fresh loans, according to the finance ministry.

"Retail investors' aggressive stock buying gave a boost to the KOSPI index amid ample liquidity in the market. The government's stimulus packages also helped," Noh Dong-kil, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities Co., said.

For the remainder of the week, investors await first-quarter corporate earnings results set to be released from later this week to take a cue in reorganizing their portfolios, he said.

Institutions and foreigners offloaded a combined 344 billion won worth of stocks, offsetting individuals' stock buying valued at 317 billion won.

Most large-cap stocks were mixed across the board.

Tech and airline shares led gains, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. rising 1.2 percent to 49,850 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. climbing 3.2 percent to 83,900 won, and national flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co. gaining 0.5 percent to 19,250 won.

Among decliners, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. fell 1 percent to 92,600 won, leading steelmaker POSCO declined 0.6 percent to 170,000 won, and No. 1 refiner SK Innovation Co. was down 2.2 percent to 96,300 won.

The local currency closed at 1,232.20 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.50 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 1.1 basis points to 1.046 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond climbed 3.9 basis points to 1.269 percent.
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