South Korean stocks closed higher Monday on better-than-expected industry data from China, the country’s top trading partner, analysts said. The South Korean won appreciated against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index gained 6.85 points, or 0.35 percent, to 1,974.92. Trading volume was low at 226.9 million shares worth 3.34 trillion won ($3.27 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 510 to 313.
Analysts said Seoul shares gained ground as British-based HSBC said the Purchasing Managers Index for Chinese manufactures is estimated at 50.8 for June, marking the first time for Asia’s largest economy to hover above the benchmark 50 in six months.
The PMI is an index that measures the health of a country’s manufacturing sector. A reading of 50 or above represents an expansion of the sector from the previous month, while a reading below the figure represents a contraction.
“Gains of Samsung Group-related shares, including Samsung Electronics, also lent support to Monday’s rise,” said Kang Hyun-gie, an analyst at I’M Investment & Securities Co. “However, we do not know how long the trend will last, as those shares are currently going through sharp fluctuations.”
On Friday, the KOSPI fell 23.96 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,968.07, led by losses in Samsung Group affiliates.
Samsung shares have been suffering fluctuations after a brief rally last month when Lee Kun-hee, the de facto head of the group, was hospitalized after a heart attack. Investors had bet that the business group, which makes up nearly 30 percent of the market capitalization on the main bourse, would take steps friendly to shareholders ahead of a managerial transfer from Lee to his children.
Foreigners bought a net 999 million won, while retail investors offloaded a net 128 billion won. Institutions scooped up a net 142.9 billion won.
Samsung Electronics moved up 1.61 percent to 1,322,000 won, and Samsung Life Insurance climbed 0.99 percent to 102,000 won. Samsung C&T advanced 1.65 percent to 73,800 won.
Builders also closed bullish, with Hyundai Engineering & Construction advancing 0.96 percent to 52,400 won and Daewoo Engineering & Construction moving up 1.96 percent to 8,310 won.
Daelim Industrial added 2.76 percent to 81,800 won.
Other blue-chip shares also increased, with top portal operator Naver rising 4.96 percent to 826,000 won and No. 1 steelmaker POSCO adding 1.22 percent to 291,500 won.
Top carmaker Hyundai Motor rose 0.69 percent to 219,500 won, while its sister Kia Motors lost 0.37 percent to 54,000 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis shed 0.89 percent to 278,000 won.
Mobile carrier traded mixed, with SK Telecom losing 1.67 percent to 235,500 won while LG Uplus added 0.21 percent to 9,350 won. KT lost 0.33 percent to 30,350 won.
The local currency ended at 1,018.50 won against the greenback, up 2.1 won from Friday’s close. (Yonhap)