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(LEAD) Seoul stocks soar to almost 3-month high on hopes of economic reopening

All News 16:53 May 26, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, paras 1-2; ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)

SEOUL, May 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares rallied to the highest in almost three months Tuesday, as hopes of major economies reopening boosted investor sentiment. The Korean won rose sharply against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 2,029.78, spiking 35.18 points, or 1.76 percent, and breaching the psychologically significant 2,000-point mark for the first time since March 6.

Trading volume was high at about 999.5 million shares worth some 12.39 trillion won (US$10.03 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 664 to 184.

An electronic signboard at a KEB Hana Bank trading room in Seoul shows the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 35.18 points, or 1.76 percent, to close at 2,029.78 on May 26, 2020. (Yonhap)

The index got off to a strong start and extended gains throughout the day. The gains were largely buoyed by the rollbacks of the coronavirus-incurred economic lockdowns, particularly in Europe, analysts said.

"The major economies are pushing for economic reopening ahead of the holiday season, especially among the tourist-rich regions in Western Europe," NH Investment & Securities analyst Noh Dong-kil said.

"Spain decided to lift the two-week self-distancing orders for local visitors starting July, while Greece allowed restaurants and cafes to resume operations on condition of keeping a certain distance," he added.

Institutions purchased a net 341.8 billion won, with foreigners scooping up a net 8.9 billion won. Retail investors sold a net 480.2 billion won, ending a three-day buying streak.

Most large caps closed in positive terrain.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics rose 0.82 percent to 49,250 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix added 0.61 percent to 81,900 won.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor soared 1.88 percent to 97,800 won, with its smaller affiliate Kia Motors spiking 3.62 percent to 31,500 won.

Internet portal giant Naver slid 0.83 percent to 239,000 won while its local rival Kakao added 0.75 percent to 270,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,234.30 won per dollar, up 9.90 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 2.4 basis points to 0.839 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond gained 3.0 basis points to 1.080 percent.

jwc@yna.co.kr
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