Seoul shares up 0.7% on eased U.S. rate woes

South Korean stocks closed 0.7 percent higher on Monday as investor sentiment was boosted by eased uncertainties on the U.S. Fed’s interest rate policy. The local currency fell against the greenback.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index advanced 13.84 points to 2,003.70. Trading volume was low at 375.2 million shares worth 4.4 trillion won ($3.8 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 420 to 373.

Analysts said investors’ concerns over the Fed’s rate policy eased following the release of the Federal Open Market Committee’s minutes last week.

“The outlook over a gradual increase of U.S. key rates had pushed up the global stock market. But there are still possibilities for risks to continue,” said Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities Co.

Foreigners sold a net 103.8 billion won, and individuals also offloaded a net 199 billion won. Institutions, however, scooped up a net 167.7 billion won.

Samsung Group’s key affiliates sharply advanced, aided by a series of positive news.

Samsung C&T, the group’s de facto holding firm, added 7.45 percent to 151,500 won on improved outlook over its bio businesses.

Samsung SDI also climbed 1.55 percent to 262,500 won following reports that the company has decided to export batteries for electric cars to China.

Builders closed bullish, with Hyundai Engineering & Construction moving up 0.46 percent to 32,800 won and Daewoo Engineering & Construction increasing 2.37 percent to 6,480 won.

Mobile carriers, in contrast, lost ground, with SK Telecom losing 0.21 percent lower to 232,500 won and No. 2 KT decreasing 0.34 percent to 29,550 won. LG Uplus shed 2.31 percent to 10,550 won.

Carmakers also ended bearish, with Hyundai Motor decreasing 0.63 percent to 157,000 won and its sister Kia Motors edging down 1.08 percent to 55,000 won. Hyundai Mobis, the country’s largest auto-parts maker, lost 2.17 percent to 247,000 won.

The local currency ended at 1,158.50 won against the greenback, down 4.20 won from Friday’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys shed 0.1 basis point to 1.761 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds rose 1 basis point to 1.969 percent. (Yonhap)


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