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(LEAD) Seoul stocks close higher on hopes for eased economic concerns

All News 16:33 May 08, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom; CHANGES photo)

SEOUL, May 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed higher Friday as investor sentiment got a boost from less-than-pessimistic economic indicators from the United States and China, analysts said. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 17.21 points, or 0.89 percent, to finish at 1,945.82. Trading volume was moderate at 775 million shares worth 7.82 trillion won (US$6.4 billion), with gainers outpacing losers 588 to 227.

Seoul stocks got off to a solid start on the back of the report that 3.16 million Americans had applied for unemployment benefits last week, down 677,000 from a week earlier.

The better-than-expected exports data from China, the top trading partner of South Korea, also helped boost investor sentiment.

Dealers at Hana Bank in central Seoul watch monitors on May 8, 2020. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 17.21 points, or 0.89 percent, to finish at 1,945.82. (Yonhap)

Beijing said earlier its outbound shipments for April advanced 3.5 percent from a year earlier, marking the first monthly increase since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Investor sentiment improved on rising hope over the recovery of the U.S. economy, as the country is moving to resume its business activities," said Lee Young-gon, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment.

Foreigners scooped up a net 43 billion won, while individuals dumped a net 244 billion won. Institutions bought more shares than they sold at 173 billion won.

In Seoul, major blue chips gained ground.

No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gained 3.16 percent to 85,000 won, and LG Electronics climbed 0.91 percent to 55,200 won. Market kingpin Samsung Electronics remained unchanged at 48,800 won.

Leading pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics moved up 3.7 percent to 588,000 won, and Celltrion added 3.19 percent to 210,500 won. Hanmi Pharmaceutical shot up 6.56 percent to 276,000 won.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor rose 2.05 percent to 94,500 won, and its smaller sister company Kia Motors added 5.17 percent to 30,500 won. Auto parts producer Hyundai Mobis increased 3.53 percent to 176,000 won.

No. 1 oil refiner SK Innovation shed 0.1 percent to 98,600 won, while S-Oil gained 0.15 percent to 69,000 won.

The South Korean won closed at 1,219.90 won against the U.S. dollar, up 5.10 won from the previous session.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 3.2 basis points to 0.914 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond slid 4.3 basis points to 1.166 percent.


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