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Seoul stocks open higher on rebounding oil prices

All News 09:27 April 23, 2020

SEOUL, April 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks opened higher Thursday, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street, as investors took some comfort from rebounding oil prices and signs of a slowdown in the coronavirus pandemic.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 10.34 points, or 0.55 percent, to 1,906.49 in the first 15 minutes of trading. The main index ended up 0.9 percent at 1,896.15 on Wednesday after shedding 1.8 percent in the previous two sessions.

The KOSPI's rebound will be limited, however, as investors continue to assess the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the global economy and corporate earnings in coming quarters, analysts said.

The country's economy contracted 1.4 percent in the first quarter of the year from three months earlier, the worst since 2008, according to data from the Bank of Korea.

Investors now await major companies' first-quarter business results set to be released from this week to take a cue in reorganizing their portfolios.

On Thursday, SK hynix Inc. posted a net profit of 649 billion won (US$526 million) in the January-March quarter, down 41 percent from 1.1 trillion won a year earlier.

Large-cap stocks were mixed across the board.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. rose 0.3 percent, No. 1 refiner SK Innovation Co. climbed 1.9 percent, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. gained 1.5 percent and national flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co. was up 2.6 percent.

Among decliners, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. fell 0.7 percent, dominant tobacco company KT&G Corp. declined 0.5 percent and leading cosmetics firm AmorePacific Corp. was down 0.9 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,232.70 won against the U.S. dollar, down 0.50 won from the previous session's close.

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