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Seoul shares end higher on U.S. rallies

An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

South Korean stocks ended higher Wednesday, as investor sentiment was boosted by Wall Street gains and the expected resumption of Russian gas to Europe. The Korean won gained ground against the U.S. dollar.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 15.88 points, or 0.67 percent, to close at 2,386.85. Trading volume was moderate at 328.96 million shares worth 7.36 trillion won ($5.61 billion), with gainers outstripping decliners 630 to 228.

Retail investors picked up shares worth a net 65.73 billion won, while foreigners and institutions shed shares worth 41.0 billion won and 58.82 billion won, respectively.

The market got off to a strong start to jump around 1.5 percent, after US stocks rallied on better-than-expected corporate earnings.

Investors also welcomed the news that Russia's Gazprom would resume gas deliveries through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline this week, albeit at reduced capacity.

But some of the earlier gains were pared amid uncertainties over monetary policy steps in major countries and lingering woes over an economic recession.

"Shares gathered ground on the back of attractive valuations. The situation surrounding the market has not worsened further recently," Meritz Securities analyst Lee Jin-woo said.

"After major economies deliver their interest rate decision this month, corporate earnings will serve as a key market-moving factor," he added.

In Seoul, most big-cap shares ended higher, with major chemical shares and financials leading the upturn.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem surged 3.65 percent to 540,000 won, and battery giant LG Energy Solution grew 0.26 percent to 384,000 won.

Major chipmaker SK hynix jumped 2.0 percent to 102,000 won, and Samsung SDI advanced 2.57 percent to 559,000 won.

But market behemoth Samsung Electronics fell 0.66 percent to 60,500 won.

No. 1 financial group KB Financial soared 4.75 percent to 48,500 won, and Shinhan Financial Group rose 2.75 percent to 35,550 won.

Internet portal operator Naver went up 1.03 percent to 246,000 won, and platform giant Kakao climbed 0.82 percent to 73,400 won.

Bio stocks also rose, with Samsung Biologics going up 0.49 percent to 823,000 won and pharmaceutical company Celltrion adding 0.27 percent to 184,000 won.

Carmakers ended mixed, with No. 1 carmaker Hyundai Motor rising 0.27 percent to 189,000 won and its affiliated Kia shedding 0.61 percent to 81,600 won.

The local currency ended at 1,312.9 won against the US dollar, up 0.5 won from the previous day's close. (Yonhap)

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