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Seoul shares end higher on bargain hunting

South Korean stocks ended higher Monday helped by bargain hunting by retail investors and gains on Wall Street. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index gained 21.61 points, or 0.91 percent, to close at 2,385.38. Trade volume was moderate at 344.76 million shares worth 6.41 trillion won ($5.91 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 458 to 361.

The local market advanced after Wall Street recovered Friday to pare some of its earlier losses. The benchmark S&P 500 fell 5.2 percent last week, its biggest decline since January 2016.


"The US market closed higher on the last trading day of a turbulent week, led by companies with strong earnings prospects,"

said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. "Companies with upbeat earnings momentum are also expected to lift the Korean stock market."

Individuals bought a net 97.23 billion won to pick up undervalued stocks after a market correction, while foreigners and institutions sold a net 80.23 billion won and 16.71 billion won, respectively.

Tech and bio shares were among the top gainers.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. increased 2.28 percent to 2,286,000 won, and SK hynix, a memory chip giant, added 1.5 percent to 74,500 won.

Celltrion, a major pharmaceutical firm, jumped 5.03 percent to 302,500 won on hopes of drawing more funds after it moved from the secondary KOSDAQ market to the KOSPI on Friday. Samsung Biologics, Samsung's bio subsidiary, advanced 5.37 percent to 422,000 won. 

Auto shares were down, as the strengthening Korean won raised concerns over their export competitiveness.

Top automaker Hyundai Motors lost 0.65 percent to 154,000 won, and its parts maker Hyundai Mobis fell 1.06 percent to 234,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,084.6 won against the dollar, up 7.5 won from the previous session's close. 

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 2.4 basis points to 2.302 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds climbed 4.1 basis points to 2.566 percent. (Yonhap)