Death toll in ferry sinking tops 150 as hope dwindles

Seoul shares edge up 0.24 pct on strong U.S. data

Seoul shares edge up 0.24 pct on strong U.S. data

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Published : 2013-12-24 16:20
Updated : 2013-12-24 16:20

South Korean stocks advanced 0.24 percent Tuesday as a string of strong data from the U.S. continued to boost market sentiment here, analysts said. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.

The country's key stock index, the KOSPI, advanced 4.7 points to finish at 2,001.59. Trading volume was light at 204 million shares worth 3.07 trillion won ($2.89 billion) with gainers outpacing decliners 459 to 330.

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

"Eased global risks such as the Fed's tapering and hopes for economic recovery are prodding investors to crawl back to the buying side," said Park Sung-hoon, an analyst at Woori Investment & Securities. "Economic cycle-sensitive shares may lead the market advance down the road."

U.S. consumer sentiment improved in December, after consumer spending rose 0.5 percent in November, brightening prospects for the world's largest economy. The Dow Jones industrial average closed Monday at all-time highs.

Utility, shipbuilder and telecom shares led the overall market gain.

Korea Electric Power rose 1.03 percent to close at 34,300 won, and Korea Gas also added 3.55 percent to end at 67,100 won. Top mobile carrier SK Telecom gained 1.06 percent to close at 238,500 won.

Top shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries rose 2.4 percent to end at 255,500 won, with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering jumping 1.91 percent to end at 34,750 won.

But tech shares and automakers finished lower. Top market cap Samsung Electronics shed 1.26 percent to close at 1,415,000 won, and the world's second largest computer memory chipmaker, SK hynix, fell 0.68 percent to end at 36,750 won.

Industry leader Hyundai Motor sank 1.09 percent to end at 238,500 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors declined 0.54 percent to close at 55,400 won.

A firm net purchase of local equities by institutional investors drove up the KOSPI with 464 billion won. Foreigners and retail investors sold a net 61 billion won and 385 billion won, respectively.

The local currency ended at 1,059.30 won against the greenback, up 1.40 won from Monday's close, mainly due to a bullish run on the local equity market, dealers said.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 0.01 percentage point to 2.89 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds remained unchanged at 3.22 percent. (Yonhap News)

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