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Seoul stocks finish at new record high on large-cap gains

South Korea's main stock index finished at a fresh record high Thursday, helped by gains in large-cap stocks amid optimism on global economic growth. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 13.1 points, or 0.55 percent, to close at 2,395.66. Trade volume was moderate at 433 million shares worth 5.38 trillion won ($4.71 billion).

The local stock market opened higher, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street. 


On the back of a buying spree by foreign and institutional investors, the index broke through the 2,400-point level and touched 2,402.80 for the first time earlier in the day 

Foreign investors scooped up a net 99.8 billion won worth of local stocks, while individual investors sold a net 166.5 billion won worth of stocks.

Samsung Securities analyst Oh Hyun-seok said the surpassing of the 2,400-point level signaled that a bullish market may continue this year.

A recent rally on the local stock market is likely to be tested by second-quarter earnings results of local firms, Oh said.

Top cap Samsung Electronics rose 0.5 percent to end at 2,397,000 won, and SK hynix, a global chipmaker, gained 1.93 percent to 68,500 won.

Naver, the operator of the country's top Internet portal, shed 0.93 percent to 853,000 won.

Automakers traded in positive terrain, with industry leader Hyundai Motor up 0.62 percent to 161,000 won and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors rising 0.79 percent to 38,150 won.

The local currency closed at 1,141.10 won against the US dollar, up 2.9 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 1.1 basis points to 1.700 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond declined 0.6 basis point to 1.898 percent. (Yonhap)