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Seoul stocks close higher on hopes for new US economic stimulus

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)
South Korean shares closed higher Friday, as investor sentiment was improved by hopes for a new stimulus package for the US economy. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.

After trading in a choppy session, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 6.09 points, or 0.27 percent, to close at 2,278.79.

Trading volume was moderate at about 687 million shares worth some 9.9 trillion won ($8.4 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 530 to 318.

Foreigners sold a net 90 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 18 billion won. Institutions purchased a net 74 billion won.

The KOSPI gained ground after it nose-dived 2.59 percent on heightened economic uncertainty the previous day.

Investor sentiment was lifted by reports that US Democrats are drafting a new $2.4 trillion stimulus bill, aimed at resuming the stalled stimulus talks with Republicans, analysts said.

"The new about a fresh US extra stimulus plan seems to have boosted investor sentiment," said Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young.

An overnight Wall Street rebound in tech heavyweights, such as Apple and Microsoft, also helped the KOSPI trade in positive terrain.

But further gains were limited by political uncertainty from the US presidential election set for November and spiking coronavirus cases.

Local analysts said the US political uncertainties will keep affecting the local stock indexes through the upcoming Chuseok holiday season.

Most large caps closed higher in Seoul.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics edged up 0.17 percent to 57,900 won, but No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix shed 1.66 percent to 82,900 won.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics gained 0.3 percent to 675,000 won, and Celltrion jumped 3.4 percent to 358,500 won.

Internet portal giant Naver rose 0.34 percent to 295,000 won, while its rival Kakao slipped 0.14 percent to 351,500 won.

Leading chemical maker LG Chem added 2.62 percent to 627,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI advanced 0.49 percent to 412,000 won.

Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, dipped 0.87 percent to 170,000 won, while top steelmaker Posco gained 3.19 percent to 194,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,172.3 won per dollar, up 0.4 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.2 basis point to 0.855 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 0.4 basis point to 1.125 percent. (Yonhap)
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