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(LEAD) Seoul stocks extend winning streak to 4th session

All News 16:48 May 20, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)

SEOUL, May 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed slightly higher Wednesday, extending their winning streak to a fourth session on foreign and institutional buying. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 9.03 points, or 0.46 percent, to close at 1,989.64. Trading volume was moderate at some 688 million shares, worth about 8 trillion won (US$6.5 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 550 to 275.

An electronic signboard at a KB Kookmin Bank trading room in Yeouido, Seoul, shows that the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 9.03 points, or 0.46 percent, to close at 1,989.64 on May 20, 2020. (Yonhap)

The hike came despite heavy overnight losses on Wall Street, sparked by renewed fears over the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The U.S. stock market returned some of the gains from the previous session despite pledges (to support the economy) from the U.S. Fed and head of the Treasury Department," NH Investment & Securities analyst Noh Dong-kil said.

"Reduced hopes for the development of a vaccine partly caused by the drop in U.S. stock prices, but the heightening of the U.S.-China dispute also had a negative impact on investor sentiments," Noh added.

Reports of positive results from an early stage testing of a candidate vaccine for the novel coronavirus sparked a global stock market rally earlier this week.

Experts, however, have since pointed out the lack of enough clinical evidence to prove the effectiveness of the candidate vaccine.

Foreigners continued to scoop up local shares after snapping their six-day selling streak Tuesday.

They purchased a net 78 billion won, while institutions bought a net 96 billion won. Retail investors sold a net 178.7 billion won.

Large caps closed mixed.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics shed 0.6 percent to 50,000 won, but No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix surged 1.69 percent to 84,100 won.

Top pharmaceutical company Samsung BioLogics remained flat at 600,000 won, while Celltrion surged 2.58 percent to 218,500 won.

Leading automaker Hyundai Motor plunged 1.82 percent to 97,300 won, with its smaller affiliate Kia Motors tumbling 2.68 percent to 30,850 won.

The local currency closed at 1,230.30 won per dollar, down 5 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys shed 0.8 basis point to 0.868 percent, while the return on the benchmark five-year government bond slipped 2.1 basis points to 1.111 percent.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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