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Seoul shares spike 2.87 pct on eased policy woes


South Korean stocks shot up 2.87 percent Thursday, as investors opted to scoop up shares after policy jitters stemming from the U.S. and China waned, analysts said. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.
   
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) surged 51.25 points to close at 1,834.70. Trading volume was light at 281.4 million shares worth 4.06 trillion won (US$3.51 billion) with gainers far outnumbering decliners 743 to 115.
   
"The index is quickly making up for its steep losses seen in the past few days, with foreigners increasing bets in IT blue-chips," said Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Woori Investment & Securities Co.
   
Foreigners snapped a 14-day losing streak and turned to net buyers, as worries that the U.S. Federal Reserve will start a tapering of its monetary policy eased following the worse-than-expected 1.8 percent on-year expansion in the first quarter.
   
Beijing's move to supply liquidity in the money market after a hike in short-term rates also lent support to fueling the stocks.    

"But it's early to say that overseas investors have returned to the Seoul market, given that the amount of their net purchase came in well below the average," he said. Foreigners, whose stock holdings account for 33 percent of the total market cap, bought a net 107 billion won.
   
Tech blue-chips were the biggest gainers that pushed up the KOSPI. Top-cap Samsung Electronics spiked 6.19 percent to 1,339,000 won, with Hyundai Motor, the second-largest market cap, soaring 4.81 percent to 218,000 won.
   
Hyundai Mobis, the auto parts-making affiliate of Hyundai Motor, surged 6.8 percent to 275,000 won. Leading chemical maker LG Chem rose 2.24 percent to 72,900 won.
   
The local currency ended at 1,149.70 won against the greenback, up 4.8 won from Wednesday's close, on the back of the KOSPI's strong rebound, dealers said.
  
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasuries held steady at 2.97 percent, while the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds slipped 0.04 percentage point to 3.21 percent. (Yonhap News)

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