Seoul shares end higher on bargain hunting
[THE INVESTOR] Korean stocks ended higher on Feb. 12 helped by bargain hunting by retail investors and gains on Wall Street. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.
The benchmark KOSPI gained 21.61 points, or 0.91 percent, to close at 2,385.38. Trade volume was moderate at 344.76 million shares worth 6.41 trillion won (US$5.91 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 458 to 361.
“The U.S. market closed higher on the last trading day of a turbulent week, led by companies with strong earnings prospects,” said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. “Companies with upbeat earnings momentum are also expected to lift the Korean stock market.”
Individuals bought a net 97.23 billion won to pick up undervalued stocks after a market correction, while foreigners and institutions sold a net 80.23 billion won and 16.71 billion won, respectively.
Tech and bio shares were among the top gainers.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics increased 2.28 percent to 2,286,000 won, and SK hynix, a memory chip giant, added 1.5 percent to 74,500 won.
Celltrion, a major pharmaceutical firm, jumped 5.03 percent to 302,500 won on hopes of drawing more funds after it moved from the secondary KOSDAQ market to the KOSPI on Friday. Samsung Biologics, Samsung‘s bio subsidiary, advanced 5.37 percent to 422,000 won.
Auto shares were down, as the strengthening Korean won raised concerns over their export competitiveness.
Top automaker Hyundai Motors lost 0.65 percent to 154,000 won, and its parts maker Hyundai Mobis fell 1.06 percent to 234,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,084.60 won against the dollar, up 7.50 won from the previous session’s close.
By Seong Seung-hyun and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)