(ATTN: RECASTS lead to clarify a third supplementary budget is not unprecedented in South Korea; ADDS additional background in 6th para, bond yields at bottom, photo)
SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed sharply higher Monday on hopes of a quick economic recovery prompted by a government push for a third supplementary budget and eased concerns over tensions between the United States and China. The Korean won sharply rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) surged 35.48 points, or 1.75 percent, to close at 2,065.08, the highest reading since March 5. Trading volume was moderate at about 982.5 million shares worth some 9.6 trillion won (US$7.9 billion), with winners outnumbering losers 709 to 166.
Foreigners purchased a net 110.3 billion won, with institutions scooping up a net 326.3 billion won. Retail investors offloaded a net 447.4 billion won for profit-taking.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in confirmed the government's push for this year's third supplementary budget, which he said must be the largest in the country's history, prompting hopes for a quick recovery of the economy hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"President Moon's comments on the third supplementary budget seemed to have cast a positive influence over the stock market," HI Investment & Securities analyst Park Sang-hyun said.
A third supplementary budget, if realized, will mark the first of its kind in over five decades since 1969. The president said the government bill on the proposed budget will be submitted to the parliament before the end of this week.
The stock index started off strong with improved investor sentiment, helped by the milder-than-expected U.S.-China political friction over Beijing's passage of a new national security law that may severely undermine civil liberties of Hong Kong citizens.
The set of countermeasures announced by U.S. President Donald Trump came with harsh rhetoric but lacked specifics, leaving room for a possible de-escalation of tensions in the future.
"Mr. Trump has had many difficulties from the new coronavirus, and seems to be averting that pressure by maintaining the U.S.-China tension to a certain degree that does not harm his home economy," Park said.
In Seoul, most large caps traded higher.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 0.99 percent to 51,200 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix spiked 2.58 percent to 83,600 won.
Leading pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics added 1.13 percent to 629,000 won, while Celltrion jumped 6.56 percent to 227,500 won.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor climbed 2.04 percent to 100,000 won, with its smaller affiliate Kia Motors advancing 1.02 percent to 34,600 won.
The local currency closed at 1,225.0 won per dollar, up 13.50 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys gained 0.5 basis point to 0.831 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 2.2 basis points to 1.119 percent.
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