Seoul stocks close at fresh all-time high on eased tapering jitters

SEOUL– South Korea’s stock market closed at an all-time high Monday as weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs data helped ease concerns over the potential rollback of the country’s expansive monetary policy. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) advanced 12.04 points, or 0.37 percent, to close at 3,252.12 points, marking the highest closing ever.

Trading volume was high at about 1.7 billion shares worth some 18.8 trillion won (US$16.9 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 441 to 399.

Foreigners sold a net 185 billion won, while retail investors bought 68 billion won. Institutions purchased a net 117 billion won.
The KOSPI got off to a bullish start as investors are relieved that an increase in U.S. non-agricultural jobs in May turned out to be slower than the market consensus.

The key stock index snapped its winning streak in the previous session ahead of the data’s release, largely due to investors concerns that a fast job increase may prompt the Federal Reserve’s discussion on tapering its asset-buying program as early as this month.

The index temporarily turned to losses in the late morning session as increased valuation pressure boosted investor appetite for profit-taking but finished higher on strong foreign buying.

“Whether the KOSPI will continue its upward move or not will be determined after (U.S. consumer) price data and the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting results come out next week,” Hana Financial Investment analyst Lee Jae-sun said.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.36 percent to 81,900 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix closed unchanged at 128,500 won.

Internet portal operator Naver increased 1.54 percent to 362,500 won, with giant pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics edging up 0.24 percent to 842,000 won.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor closed flat at 241,500 won, and leading chemical firm LG Chem gained 0.62 percent to 814,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,112.9 won against the U.S. dollar, up 3.6 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 1.9 basis points to 1.201 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 2.5 basis points to 1.699 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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