South Korean stocks closed slightly higher Tuesday on gains in autos like Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors that were helped by foreign buying, amid easing concerns over the political unrest in Iraq, analysts said. The South Korean won fell sharply against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) edged up 7.96 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,001.55. Trading volume was moderate at 232.79 million shares worth 3.46 trillion won (US$3.39 billion), with gainers outpacing losers 435 to 358.
Analysts said Seoul shares gathered ground following a drop due to the unrest in the Middle East country, as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which seized Iraq’s second-biggest city of Mosul, has made little ground in the oil-rich southern part of the nation.
“It is unlikely that the latest crisis will become an all-out war,” said Moon Jung-hee, a researcher at KB Investment & Securities Co. “Although the Iraqi risk may last for a longer period, its impact will become weaker down the road.”
Analysts said investors also took a wait-and-see approach on the two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting which runs through Wednesday.
SK hynix, the world’s No. 2 chipmaker, closed at 49,350 won, approaching 49,600 won, the highest closing price posted on June 19, 1997. It reached up to 49,850 won at one point during the trading session.
Local analysts have been raising the target price tagged on SK hynix shares, citing the anticipated increase in the global demand for dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) chips.
Foreigners scooped up a net 13.75 billion won and retail investors bought a net 9.81 billion won. Institutional investors sold a net 24.6 billion won.
Carmakers closed bullish, with Hyundai Motor rising 2 percent to 229,500 won and Kia Motors advancing 2.14 percent to 57,400 won.
Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis climbed 2.46 percent to 292,000 won.
Samsung C&T, a construction and trading arm of Samsung, also advanced 3.47 percent to 74,500 won on the back of foreign buying.
Mobile carriers traded mixed, with SK Telecom rising 1.98 percent to 232,000 won, while No. 2 KT shed 0.67 percent to 29,700 won. LG Uplus, the smallest player, added 1.76 percent to 9,250 won.
Builders lost ground, with Hyundai Engineering & Construction falling 0.19 percent to 52,500 won and Daewoo Engineering & Construction moving down 3.14 percent to 7,710 won. Daelim Industrial shed 0.98 percent to 80,500 won.
The local currency ended at 1,021.90 won against the greenback, down 1.80 won from Monday’s close. (Yonhap)