Seoul stocks up for 2nd session amid tech gains, easing virus scare

SEOUL– South Korean stocks closed up for the second straight session Wednesday, led by chipmaker gains and easing fear about the omicron variant of the new coronavirus. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 9.45 points, or 0.32 percent, to close at 2,984.48 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 453 million shares worth some 8.6 trillion won (US$7.2 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 486 to 357.

Foreigners bought a net 304 billion won and institutions purchased 176 billion won, while retail investors offloaded 502 billion won.
The market got off to a robust start, tracking overnight rallies on Wall Street amid easing fears about the impact of the omicron variant on the global economy.

The KOSPI, however, pared part of its advances later in the day as retail investors dumped local stocks to lock in gains.

Overnight, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite jumped 2.4 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 1.6 percent, largely on optimism that the symptoms of the omicron strain are not as severe.

“Investors seem optimistic about the chip performance (down the road) but not as much about the other sectors,” said Eugene Investment & Securities analyst Huh Jae-hwan.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 1.66 percent to 79,400 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix jumped 2.01 percent to 127,000 won.

Internet portal operator Naver went up 0.93 percent to 378,500 won, and leading carmaker Hyundai Motor climbed 0.73 percent to 206,500 won.

Among losers, giant pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics shed 3.01 percent to 901,000 won, with Celltrion decreasing 2.2 percent to 200,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,192 won against the U.S. dollar, up 0.9 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 3.7 basis points to 1.757 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 4.6 basis points to 1.938 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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