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Seoul stocks hit 6-month high on tech firms, automakers

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

South Korean shares closed at the highest point in six months Thursday on the back of foreign buying that centered on major tech firms and automakers. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 3.85 points, or 0.17 percent, to close at 2,267.01, extending a winning streak to a fourth session after touching this year's high of 2,281.33 points. The closing marks the highest level since 2,267.25 on Jan. 22.

Trading volume was high at about 703 million shares worth some 13.3 trillion won ($11.1 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 427 to 395.

Foreigners bought a net 224 billion won, extending their buying streak to a fifth consecutive session, while institutions sold a net 234 billion won. Retail investors purchased a net 7 billion won.

The hike was aided by a continued rise in top-cap Samsung Electronics, which delivered strong second-quarter earnings.

Other market heavyweights, such as automakers, also continued to build up gains.

"Strong foreign buying, along with major auto and tech stocks, are expected to further push up the KOSPI," KTB Investment & Securities analyst Park Seok-hyun said.

Large caps traded mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics closed flat at 59,000 won. The company's quarterly operating profit spiked 23.5 percent on-year in the April-June period.

SK hynix, the country's no. 2 chipmaker, jumped 2.52 percent to 85,300 won.

Internet giant Naver added 0.68 to 294,000 won after reporting forecast-beating earnings for the second quarter.

Leading automaker Hyundai Motor jumped 2 percent to 127,500 won, with its smaller affiliate Kia Motors advancing 2.65 percent to 40,700 won.

Among decliners, pharmaceutical heavyweight Samsung Biologics shed 0.67 percent to 736,000 won, and Celltrion lost 0.5 percent to 300,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,194.40 won against the US dollar, down 1.3 won from the previous session's close. 

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 1.2 basis points to 0.799 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond dropped 2.6 basis points to 1.037 percent. (Yonhap)
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