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Seoul shares at record high on new Fed chief nomination

South Korean shares closed at a new high Friday as investors' sentiment was boosted by abated uncertainties from the United States on the nomination of a new chief of the Federal Reserve, analysts said. The local currency rose against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index added 11.61 points, or 0.46 percent, to close at 2,557.97. Trading volume was low at 289 million shares worth 5.47 trillion won ($4.91 billion), with gainers outpacing losers 455 to 331.

Analysts said Seoul shares closed higher on speculation that the US Fed will refrain from making drastic changes in its financial policies for the time being.


"The nomination of Jerome Powell as the new head of the US Federal Reserve gives a positive impact on the South Korean market as it abates uncertainties," said Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities Co. "It is also likely that Apple-related shares will lead growth."

Institutions scooped up a net 272.7 billion won, while foreigners and individual investors sought after profit by selling a net 147 billion won and 167 billion won, respectively.

No. 1 carmaker Hyundai Motor rose 0.94 percent to 161,500 won, and its auto parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis moved up 1.88 percent to 271,000 won. Kia Motors also climbed 0.28 percent to 35,250 won.

Financial shares also closed bullish, with Samsung Life Insurance increasing 1.49 percent to 136,500 won and KB Financial rising 1.35 percent to 59,900 won. Shinhan Financial increased 1.39 percent to 51,000 won.

SK Telecom increased 0.38 percent to 266,000 won. No. 2 player KT moved up 0.68 percent to 29,600 won, and LG Uplus advanced 0.75 percent to 13,350 won.

Tech shares closed mixed, with top cap Samsung Electronics falling 1.19 percent to 2,819,000 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix increased 1.2 percent to 84,400 won. LG Electronics finished 0.44 percent higher at 92,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,113.80 won against the US dollar, up 0.60 won from the previous session's close. 

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys moved up 0.7 basis point to 2.133 percent and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds rose 1.6 basis points to 2.366 percent. (Yonhap)

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