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Seoul stocks extend winning streak to 9th session ahead of FOMC meeting

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

South Korean stocks closed higher for the ninth consecutive session Wednesday, while investors sat on the sidelines before the outcome of the US Federal Reserve meeting currently in progress, analysts said. The Korean won gained against the greenback.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 6.77 points, or 0.31 percent, to finish at 2,195.69. Trading volume was moderate at 695 million shares worth 12.6 trillion won ($10.6 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 500 to 347.

It marked the longest winning streak since September 2019, when the index closed higher for 13 consecutive sessions.

Analysts said Seoul shares gathered ground, as investors were mostly buoyed by the reopening of businesses across the globe amid the new coronavirus pandemic.

The growth, however, was limited as investors also awaited the outcome of the US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, which will provide direction on how the world's top economy will cope with the new coronavirus pandemic that has put more strain on business sentiment.

The US currently has the highest number of COVID-19 patients around the globe, reporting over 2 million cases so far.

Overnight, Wall Street closed mixed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average moving down 1.09 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.29 percent.

The result of the US Fed meeting will be delivered later Wednesday (US time).

"In the South Korean stock market, investors cashed in recent profits," Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities Co., said.

Foreigners offloaded a net 48.4 billion won, while institutions bought more shares than they sold at 218 billion won. Retail investors sold a net 168 billion won.

Shares closed mixed throughout the bourse.

Top market cap Samsung Electronics moved down 0.18 percent to 55,400 won. Earlier this week, a Seoul court refused to issue an arrest warrant for Samsung Group's de facto leader, Lee Jae-yong, who is under investigation over succession-related allegations.

No. 2 air carrier Asiana Airlines fell 2.03 percent to 4,350 won, with the firm's top shareholder Kumho Industrial losing 5.1 percent to 7,250 won on HDC Hyundai Development's call for a renegotiation of its planned acquisition of the flight operator.

Top online portal operator Naver increased 2.74 percent to 244,000 won, and its smaller rival Kakao gained 2.95 percent to 262,000 won on the rising demand for non-contact services amid the virus pandemic.

Foodstuffs makers also closed bullish, with Orion adding 2.68 percent to 134,000 won and CJ Cheiljedang advancing 7.86 percent to 329,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,191.20 won against the US dollar, up 6.50 won from the previous session.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 2.1 basis points to 0.840 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond shed 1.2 basis points to 1.122 percent.(Yonhap)
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