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Stocks close higher on ‘hydrogen economy’ road map

Fueled by the government’s road map to build a “hydrogen economy,” South Korea’s top automaker and hydrogen-powered car parts firms continued a two-day gaining streak.

Hyundai Motor, which launched the fuel cell electric vehicle Nexo early last year, closed at 131,000 won ($116.80) per share Friday, up 1.16 percentage point from the previous close and hitting a 16-week high.
President Moon Jae-in observes fuel-cell displays in Ulsan on Thursday. (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in observes fuel-cell displays in Ulsan on Thursday. (Yonhap)

Companies that manufacture or supply hydrogen electric vehicle parts also marked sharp gains.

Hyundai Mobis, the leading fuel cell electric vehicle components manufacturer of the Korean auto group, also inched up 1.45 percent to 210,000 won.

Nuinteck and SungChang Autotech -- auto parts makers traded on the tech-heavy Kosdaq bourse -- soared 20.58 percent and 29.7 percent, respectively, on the same day.

The uptrend came in the wake of an extensive government announcement on promoting the country’s hydrogen technology.

On Thursday, President Moon Jae-in unveiled the new energy road map for a hydrogen economy, which involves the total production of 6.2 million fuel cell electric vehicles and construction of 1,200 refilling stations by 2040.

“Though (South Korean carmakers) are struggling in key car markets such as the US and China, 2019 is expected to work as a crucial turning point for the local automotive industry,” Yoo Ji-woong, an analyst at eBest Investment & Securities, wrote in a report.

“Companies that provide hydrogen fuel cell stacks and other parts are projected to earn long-term benefits.”

Overall, South Korean stocks rose for a fourth consecutive trading session. The benchmark Kospi went up 17.22 points, or 0.82 percent, to finish at 2,124.28, while the Kosdaq rose 9.99 points to 696.34.

By Jung Min-kyung (