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(LEAD) Seoul stocks close at record high on vaccine hopes, U.S. stimulus talks

All News 16:37 December 09, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)

SEOUL, Dec. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed at an all-time high Wednesday, driven by progress of COVID-19 vaccines amid optimism over U.S. stimulus talks. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 54.54 points, or 2.02 percent, to close at 2,755.47.

Trading volume was high at about 1.2 billion shares worth some 16.8 trillion won (US$15.5 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 658 to 192.

Foreigners bought a net 162 billion won, while retail investors sold a net 510 billion won. Institutions purchased a net 311 billion won.

Electronic signboards at a Hana Bank dealing room in Seoul show the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 2,755.47 on Dec. 9, 2020, up 54.54 points or 2.02 percent from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

"Investor sentiment was boosted by the launch of mass vaccinations in Britain and the developments about the U.S. FDA's authorization of emergency use for (Pfizer's) vaccine," NH Investment & Securities analyst Noh Dong-kil said.

"Anticipation for an additional U.S. relief package also helped stop the KOSPI's downward pressure," he said.

Chipmakers, automakers and steelmakers fared well, with reignited stimulus hopes in the United States, following Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's offer to set aside some deadlock factors from the relief package.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics jumped 3.07 percent to 73,900 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix surged 4.78 percent to 120,500 won. Both firms finished at their all-time highs.

Hyundai Motor, the country's largest carmaker, advanced 2.68 percent to 191,500 won, and leading steelmaker POSCO moved up 2.82 percent to 273,000 won.

Chemical firm LG Chem gained 3.08 percent to 836,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI rose 2.35 percent to 566,000 won.

Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics lost 0.72 percent to 822,000 won, but Celltrion added 1 percent to 353,500 won.

Internet portal Naver went up 1.05 percent to 288,000 won, and its rival Kakao edged up 0.13 percent to 375,000 won.

The local currency was trading at 1,084.8 won against the U.S. dollar, up 0.6 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 0.7 basis point to 0.966 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 0.7 basis point to 1.318 percent.

jwc@yna.co.kr
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