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(LEAD) Seoul stocks end tad higher on EV battery makers' rally, tech gains

All News 16:32 August 03, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)

SEOUL, Aug. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares closed slightly higher Monday due to an advance in EV battery makers and tech shares, bucking concerns over the global resurgence of the COVID-19 infections. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

After choppy trading, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 1.67 points, or 0.07 percent, to close at 2,251.04. Trading volume was high at about 636 million shares worth some 13.4 trillion won (US$11.2 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 515 to 325.

Foreigners sold a net 269 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 625 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 381 billion won.

Electronic signboards at the trading room of Hana Bank in Seoul show the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 2,251.04 on Aug. 3, 2020, up 1.67 points or 0.07 percent from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

The local stock market stayed in negative terrain amid the resurgence of COVID-19 infections around the world. Global cases have topped 18 million.

The political feud between the United States and China, South Korea's two largest trade partners, also pushed the index into a tight range.

But the market turned higher as EV battery-related shares and China's improved manufacturing data in July boosted market sentiment.

LG Chem, the fifth-largest cap on the KOSPI, spiked 11.8 percent to close at an all-time high of 635,000 won. Samsung SDI surged 4.28 percent to 414,500 won, and SK Innovation jumped 1.97 percent to 129,500 won, joining the EV battery rally.

Investor sentiment was also fueled by China's Caixin Manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI), or gauge for the world's No. 2 economy's manufacturing activity, logging the steepest growth in almost a decade.

"Foreign sell-offs grew weaker after China's economic data (on the PMI) came out," said Shinhan Financial Investment analyst Choi Yoo-joon.

Large caps closed mixed in Seoul.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 1.9 percent to 56,800 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix retreated 1.21 percent to 81,800 won.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics gained 0.41 percent to 736,000 won.

Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, climbed 0.4 percent to 127,000 won, while its smaller affiliate Kia Motors dipped 1.73 percent to 39,700 won.

Internet giant Naver jumped 4.49 percent to 314,500 won, with its rival Kakao adding 6.55 percent to 366,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,193.40 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.1 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 0.3 basis point to 0.799 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 0.9 basis point to 1.040 percent.

jwc@yna.co.kr
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