Seoul Shares Edge Higher Boosted by Nvidia’s EarningsPresidential Office Vows Strong Response to Fabricated Video of Yoon Suk Yeol

Seoul - South Korean stocks closed slightly higher on Friday, marking a second consecutive day of gains, propelled by foreign investor interest in local tech shares after Nvidia reported strong earnings. Meanwhile, the Korean won weakened against the U.S. dollar. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose by 3.43 points, or 0.13 percent, ending the session at 2,667.7.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the day saw 409.4 million shares traded, amounting to 10.1 trillion won (approximately US$7.59 billion), with 514 decliners outpacing 341 gainers. Foreign investors net purchased 148.8 billion won in local shares, offsetting net sales by institutions and individuals, which stood at 56.1 billion won and 110.2 billion won, respectively.

Analysts, including Lee Jae-won from Shinhan Securities Co., pointed to foreign investors' concentrated interest in Korean semiconductor stocks like SK hynix, following a rally in U.S. stocks led by Nvidia. Investors are also looking forward to the government's upcoming "value-up" programs aimed at boosting undervalued shares.

In the day's trading, SK hynix emerged as one of the biggest gainers, climbing 3.13 percent to reach a new high of 161,400 won, benefiting from its role as a key supplier to Nvidia. Conversely, Samsung Electronics saw a slight decline of 0.27 percent, closing at 72,900 won.

Other notable movements included financial and insurance shares, with Hana Financial Group and Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance recording gains of 3.33 percent and 2.49 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor saw a modest increase, while its affiliate Kia experienced a slight decrease. LG Energy Solution and Samsung Biologics, leaders in the battery and biotech sectors, also saw their shares fall.

The Korean won closed at 1,331 won against the U.S. dollar, marking a 2.3 won decrease from the previous session's close. Bond prices fell, with yields on three-year Treasurys and five-year government bonds rising, reflecting a lower bond market.

SEOUL — The office of President Yoon Suk Yeol announced on Friday a firm stance against the dissemination of a fabricated video that depicted the president apologizing for alleged corruption and incompetence.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the video, which surfaced on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, falsely portrayed President Yoon admitting to corruption and incompetence within his government. The emergence of the video comes at a politically sensitive time, just ahead of the general elections scheduled for April. Following its appearance, police on Thursday requested the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC), the national telecommunications watchdog, to take down and block access to the video. In response, the KCSC, in an emergency meeting on Friday, unanimously agreed to the police's request, citing the potential for the video to cause significant social confusion.

Presidential spokesperson Kim Soo-kyung expressed grave concerns over the situation, criticizing certain media outlets for treating the fabricated content as satire or suggesting it was acceptable because it was labeled as fake. "This action goes against the duty of the press, which should strive to eliminate fake news," Kim stated during a press briefing. She further emphasized that the presidential office intends to take a strong stance against such misleading and false representations in the future. It was later clarified that the video was not a deepfake but rather a manipulated compilation of statements made by Yoon during a television debate in February 2022, when he was a presidential candidate. The KCSC is expected to request social media platforms to remove or restrict access to the video.

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