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Seoul shares advance 0.68 pct on strong U.S. data

Seoul shares advance 0.68 pct on strong U.S. data

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Published : 2013-12-23 15:28
Updated : 2013-12-23 15:28

South Korean stocks rose 0.68 percent Monday as investors were cheered by strong growth data from the United States, analysts said. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.

The country's key stock index, the KOSPI, advanced 13.54 points to finish at 1,996.89. Trading volume was light at 218 million shares worth 3.17 trillion won ($2.99 billion) with gainers outpacing decliners 491 to 310.

Analysts said sound economic growth data from the world's largest economy underpinned investor sentiment here.

"Improving overseas conditions, coupled with perceptions that local shares are undervalued, are driving the market higher," said Yoo Yong-seok, an analyst at Hyundai Securities. "Overall, market conditions are turning positive."

Data showed U.S. gross domestic product grew at a 4.1 percent annual rate in the third quarter of the year, its fastest growth in nearly two years.

Also, uncertainties over the U.S. Federal Reserve's tapering eased sharply, supporting the overall market sentiment, according to the analysts.

Tech, auto and other market heavyweights led the overall market gain. Top market cap Samsung Electronics rose 0.42 percent to close at 1,433,000 won, and the world's second largest computer memory chipmaker, SK hynix, jumped 4.82 percent to end at 37,000 won.

Industry leader Hyundai Motor also advanced 1.78 percent to end at 228,500 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors advanced 1.83 percent to close at 55,700 won.

Some financial shares also lent support to the market. Hyundai Securities soared 3.11 percent to end at 5,960 won on news that its parent Hyundai Group would sell the brokerage house to improve its financial status.

In contrast, shipbuilders suffered losses, with Hyundai Heavy Industries falling 0.99 percent to end at 249,500 won, and Samsung Heavy Industries dropping 2.08 percent to close at 37,600 won.

A firm net purchase of local equities by institutional investors drove up the KOSPI with 225 billion won. Foreigners scooped up a net 70.4 billion won. But retail investors unloaded a net 263 billion won.

The local currency ended at 1,060.70 won against the greenback, up 0.50 won from Friday's close, mainly due to a strong local equity market, dealers said. (Yonhap News)



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