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Kospi returns above 3,100 points ahead of Lunar New Year

An electronic board at Hana Bank’s dealing room in Seoul shows Kospi rebounded above 3,100 points at Thursday's closing bell. (Yonhap)
An electronic board at Hana Bank’s dealing room in Seoul shows Kospi rebounded above 3,100 points at Thursday's closing bell. (Yonhap)
South Korean benchmark Kospi bounced back after a roller coaster ride Wednesday ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, surpassing the 3,100-point mark.

The main bourse got off to a slightly strong start but fluctuated widely until the late afternoon trade. The key stock index then moved upward during the remaining trading hours to close at 3,100.58 points, 15.91 points or 0.52 percent higher from the previous session’s close.

Despite a brief respite overnight on Wall Street and the local stock options’ expiration date, foreign investors turned net buyers and purchased a net 752.8 billion won ($680 million). Retail investors extended their buying spree for a third consecutive session to hoist the index.

Most of the large-cap stocks ended higher in Seoul.

Mobile tech conglomerate Kakao jumped 6.18 percent. Tech giant LG Electronics advanced 4.04 percent, while leading automaker Hyundai Motor gained 3.59 percent.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics retreated 1.33 percent, while LG Chem and Samsung Biologics lost 1.24 percent and 0.37 percent, respectively.

“The domestic stock market moved along amount of changes in offshore investors’ demand (for stock buying),” said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. “While listed firms’ trading varied depending on their business performance and issues, some sectors such as tech, auto and finance marked stronger gains.”

The tech-heavy Kosdaq also began trading higher but turned bearish within the first 30 minutes of trading. But the secondary index climbed again in the afternoon session, gaining 6.46 points or 0.67 percent to 964.31 points at the closing bell.

Private investors and foreigners joined hands and continued net purchases. They bought a net 70.7 billion won and 3.3 billion won, respectively, whereas institutional investors remained net sellers for a seventh consecutive session.

In the wake of the weakening dollar and foreign investors’ stock purchases, the Korean won rose in value against the US greenback. The local currency closed at 1,107 won per dollar, up 9.6 won per dollar or 0.86 percent from the previous session’s close.

By Jie Ye-eun(yeeun@heraldcorp.com)
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