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Seoul stocks hit fresh all-time high on earnings hope

South Korean stocks finished at a fresh record high Tuesday as institutions and individuals scooped up market heavyweights on earnings expectations, analysts said. The won rose against the dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index edged up 0.44 point, or 0.02 percent, to close at 2,490.49. The gain was bolstered by robust third-quarter earnings expectations, with a slew of major firms set to release their business performances this week for the July-September period.

Trade volume was moderate at 229.39 million shares worth 4.56 trillion won ($4.04 billion), with advancers outnumbering decliners 482 to 317.


Institutions and individuals bought a combined 95 billion won. But foreigners sold a net 101.4 billion won worth of stocks, keeping the main index from rising further.

A large sell-off in the tech sector on Wall Street overnight also affected Seoul tech stocks. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. fell 0.48 percent to 2,702,000 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. declined 3.42 percent to 81,800 won.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. shed 0.33 percent to 151,000 won on profit-taking ahead of its earnings release Thursday.

Among gainers, cosmetics giant AmorePacific Corp. rose 3.91 percent to 292,000 won, and LG Household & Healthcare, Ltd. jumped 6.5 percent to a record high of 1,131,000 won. 

The local currency closed at 1,127.40 won against the dollar, up 2.80 won from the previous session's close. 

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 2.5 basis points to 2.057 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds also clibmed 2.5 basis points to 2.292 percent. (Yonhap)