Seoul stocks rebound amid international sanctions against Russia over Ukraine attack

SEOUL– South Korean stocks rebounded Friday from the previous session’s dip as investors regained appetite for risky assets after the United States announced sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. The local currency rose slightly against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed up 27.96 points, or 1.06 percent at 2,676.76. Trading volume was heavy at 653.3 million shares worth 12 trillion won, with gainers far outpacing decliners 721 to 168.

“Among President Biden’s sanctions measures, there were no mentions of deploying U.S. troops to Ukraine or removing Russia from SWIFT, and that appears to have given the market a relief,” Lee Jae-yoon, an analyst at SK Securities Co. said, referring to the widely-used international banking system.

Russia’s removal from SWIFT would greatly hamper the country from continuing global trade and other financing.

Yet, the Ukraine crisis will make the market volatile at least in the short term, as how far Moscow will go in its aggression against Kyiv and the extent of any further sanctions by the West against Russia remain to be seen, Lee added.

Institutional investors scooped up local equities, with a net purchase worth 193.4 billion won. Foreigners and individual investors, on the other hand, unloaded their holdings with a net 121.9 billion won and a net 85.7 billion won, respectively.

Large-caps gathered ground across the board. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.56 percent to 71,900 won, with No. 2 listed firm LG Energy Solution finishing up 0.84 percent to 420,000 won.

Internet portal giant Naver jumped 3.97 percent to 314,500 won and platform operator Kakao also advanced 4.89 percent to 94,400 won.

Financial and cosmetics stocks ended in negative terrain. KB Financial fell 3.44 percent to 58,900 won and LG Household & Healthcare slid 1.46 percent to 942,000 won.

The local currency ended at 1,201.60 won against the U.S. dollar, up 0.8 won from the previous day’s close, amid market uncertainties surrounding the Ukraine issue.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys gained 1.8 basis points to 2.244 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 4.6 basis points to 2.468 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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