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(LEAD) Seoul stocks up for 5th session at new record high on chip, pharmaceutical gains

All News 16:42 December 07, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo, info on drugmakers in para 10)

SEOUL, Dec. 7 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean stock market extended its all-time high for a fifth consecutive session Monday, backed by chip and pharmaceutical gains amid the government's strengthened social distancing measures. The Korean won closed unchanged at a nearly 30-month high against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 13.99 points, or 0.51 percent, to close at 2,745.44.

Trading volume was high at about 1.5 billion shares worth some 17.7 trillion won (US$16.4 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 551 to 300.

Retail investors purchased a net 1 trillion won, while foreigners sold a net 89 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 924 billion won.

Electronic signboards at a Hana Bank dealing room in Seoul show the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 2,745.44 on Dec. 7, 2020, up 13.99 points or 0.51 percent from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

Stocks traded choppy on soaring new coronavirus cases, but chip and pharmaceutical gains eventually led the KOSPI's rebound.

"Institutions and foreigners sold on profit-taking desire and increased valuation pressure, but individual investors' buying spree for chip shares kept the index in positive terrain," Hana Financial & Investment analyst Lee Young-gon said.

Over the weekend, the government raised the social distancing scheme to the second-highest Level 2.5, ordering karaoke halls and indoor fitness facilities to close and limiting business hours for restaurants, cinemas and department stores.

Large caps traded mixed in Seoul.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 1.96 percent to 72,900 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix advanced 2.61 percent to 11,800 won. Both firms finished at all-time highs.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics spiked 6.67 percent to 880,000 won, and Celltrion surged 6.18 percent to 403,500 won. The two drugmakers also closed at all-time record highs.

Internet portal giant Naver shed 1.53 percent to 289,500 won, with its rival Kakao lost 1.16 percent to 385,000 won.

Leading chemical maker LG Chem fell 3.55 percent to 816,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI dropped 0.91 percent to 546,000 won.

Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, declined 1.53 percent to 193,500 won, while top steelmaker POSCO moved up 1.69 percent to 270,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,182.1 won per dollar, unchanged from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.5 basis point to 0.961 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 0.4 basis points to 1.319 percent.

jwc@yna.co.kr
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