The Korea Herald


Seoul shares gain 0.18 pct on eased uncertainties

By KH디지털뉴스부공용

Published : Feb. 14, 2013 - 15:59

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South Korean stocks closed 0.18 percent higher Thursday as a spate of negative factors began to fade, whetting investors' appetite for risk, analysts said. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) advanced 3.54 points to finish at 1,977.42. Trading volume was moderate at 330.5 million shares worth 3.36 trillion won (US$3.09 billion) with gainers outstripping decliners 481 to 304.

"North Korea's nuclear test had little impact, currency worries eased ahead of the Group of 20 meeting and foreigners came back with net buying. All of these point to upward momentum for the Seoul market," said Park Sung-hoon, an analyst at Woori Investment & Securities Co.

Investors also shrugged off wariness over options and futures expiration and the central bank's monetary policy meeting, which is another positive sign, Park added.

Foreigners scooped up a net 76.4 billion won, extending its buying mode for the fifth consecutive session. Institutions bought a net 40.2 billion won.

Most shares finished bullish, with steelmakers and textile firms leading the gain. Blue-chip steelmaker POSCO rose 0.97 percent to 363,500 won and major apparel company LG Fashion advancing 1.03 percent to 29,300 won.

Analysts forecast steelmakers to trend higher in the short-term following the State of the Union speech by U.S. President Barack Obama, as they rely on exports to the world's largest economy.

Top-cap Samsung Electronics added 0.2 percent to 1,490,000 won, while second-largest listed company Hyundai Motor finished flat at 216,500 won.

In contrast, telecom shares lost ground. Top mobile carrier SK Telecom fell 1.69 percent to 174,000 won and smaller player LG Uplus dipped 2.66 percent to 8,430 won.

The local currency ended at 1,083.80 won against the greenback, up 3.0 won from Wednesday's close, as foreigners opted to increase their bets on local equities, dealers said. (Yonhap News)