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KOSPI hits new high on foreign buying

South Korean stocks rose on the seventh-straight day to set a new record of 2,121.01 points on Friday, buoyed mainly by foreign buying.

The benchmark KOSPI jumped 14.31 points or 0.68 percent from the previous day to break the previous record it set in January when the KOSPI closed at 2,115.69.

Trading volume was moderate at 328.2 million shares worth 7.12 trillion won ($6.5 billion), with gainers outpacing losers by 506 to 300.

Foreigners snatched up stocks on a 13th straight trading day, buying a total of 731.9 billion won worth of issues on Friday.

“Foreigners extended their buying on rising appetite for riskier assets,” said Park So-yeon, an analyst at Korea Investment & Securities Co. “It is also notable that foreigners are increasing their holdings amid the won’s upward momentum. They seem to be betting on the won’s ascent.”

The local currency closed at 1,091.1 won to the greenback, up 5.6 won from Thursday’s close.

Shares gained ground across the board, led by technology firms.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 0.86 percent to 940,000 won.

NHN, the operator of the country’s most-visited search engine, soared 6.79 percent to 204,500 won on massive orders placed by foreign brokerages.

In contrast, automakers underperformed the market following their recent steep gains. Kia Motors edged down 0.43 percent to 68,700 won, and its auto parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis fell 1.68 percent to 322,000 won.

By Kim Ji-hyun and news reports  (jemmie@heraldcorp.com)
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