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Seoul stocks close higher on economic recovery hopes

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

South Korean shares closed higher Friday on hopes of economic recovery buoyed by better-than-anticipated economic indicators from major economies, including the United States. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 17.04 points, or 0.80 percent, to close at 2,152.41. Trading volume was moderate at about 754 million shares worth some 8.5 trillion won ($7.1 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 529 to 307.

The gains were led by hopes for an economic rebound, fueled by positive leads from the world's two largest economies, analysts said.

"US job data seem to have given a positive sign to the local stock market," said Shinhan Financial Investment analyst Choi Yoo-joon. 

The NASDAQ Composite gained 0.52 percent to close at a fresh record high of 10,207.63 on Thursday (New York time), following reports that the US jobless rate in June fell to 11.1 percent from 13.3 percent the previous month.

The Caixin China Services Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) jumped to 58.4 in June, the highest since April 2010. A reading above 50 indicates an expansion.

The rising number of new COVID-19 infections, however, remained a risk.

South Korea added 63 cases Friday, the highest daily hike since 67 cases on June 20, raising its total caseload to 12,967.

"The steep increase in new COVID-19 infections is also driving some investors into a wait-and-see mode," Choi said.

Foreigners bought a net 12 billion won, snapping a four-session selling streak, while individuals offloaded a net 87 billion won.

Institutions purchased a net 106 billion won.

Most large caps closed higher, led by service and tech gains.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 1.32 percent to 53,600 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix added 1.18 percent to 85,400 won.

Internet giant Naver inched up 0.18 percent to 277,500 won, and its rival Kakao jumped 2.98 percent to 294,000 won.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics dipped 1.91 percent to 771,000 won, while SK Biopharmaceuticals spiked 29.92 percent on its second day on the main bourse.

Leading chemical maker LG Chem advanced 2.22 percent to 507,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,198.60 won per dollar, up 1.40 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 0.7 basis point to 0.838 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 0.1 basis point to 1.115 percent. (Yonhap)
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