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Seoul stocks extend gains late Mon. morning on hopes of virus vaccine

All News 11:45 May 25, 2020

SEOUL, May 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares traded higher late Monday morning despite escalating political tensions between the United States and China as hopes of a vaccine for the new coronavirus boosted investor sentiment.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 10.18 points, or 0.52 percent, to 1,980.31 as of 11:20 a.m.

The growing tension between the world's two largest economies weighed on global markets, including the U.S. stock market, which closed lower Friday.

"The U.S. and China have entered a major fight for a hegemony that goes beyond the economic agendas, such as trade and business," Shinhan Investment analyst Lee Ye-shin said.

"Since early May, the U.S. has voiced accusations over China's responsibility for the COVID-19 pandemic."

Optimism grew after a U.S. official positively evaluated the test results of a candidate vaccine from a U.S. bio firm, Moderna, outweighing uncertainties from the souring U.S.-China relationship.

Positive reports from the U.S. drugmaker sparked a global stock market rally last week.

In Seoul, large caps traded mixed.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics lost 0.10 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix slipped 0.62 percent.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor added 0.32 percent, while its smaller affiliate, Kia Motors, slid 0.17 percent.

Internet portal giant Naver advanced 3.25 percent, while its local rival Kakao surged 5.87 percent.

Pharmaceutical industry leader Samsung BioLogics climbed 1.94 percent, while Celltrion lost 0.46 percent.

The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar, trading at 1,242.35 won per dollar, down 5.35 won from the previous session's close.

jwc@yna.co.kr
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