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Shares rise 1.07% on U.S. optimism

Dec. 23, 2011 - 16:20 By Korea Herald
Korean stocks closed 1.07 percent higher on Friday as upbeat U.S. economic data eclipsed concerns over the eurozone debt crisis, analysts said. The local currency gathered ground against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark KOSPI jumped 19.73 points to 1,867.22. Trading volume was moderate at 459.1 million shares worth 4.25 trillion won ($3.7 billion), with gainers outnumbering decliners 584 to 248.

“Positive U.S. job data and consumer sentiment index bolstered hopes on a strengthening U.S. economy and overshadowed investor jitters over Europe’s debt problem,” said Lee Kyung-soo, an analyst at Shinyoung Securities Co.

Weekly U.S. data showed the number of new applicants for unemployment benefits drop to its lowest level since April 2008, showing signs of a recovery in the U.S. job market. Separate data showed an improvement in consumer sentiment in November from a month earlier.

“However, the market is likely to move sideways next week amid lingering concerns over the eurozone situation,” Lee said.

Shares gathered ground across the board with large caps leading the climb. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 1.52 percent to 1,068,000 won and No. 2 chipmaker Hynix Semiconductor advanced 2.6 percent to 21,700 won.

Oil refiners finished bullish amid hopes they would benefit from a rise in global oil prices and a global economic recovery.

No. 3 player S-Oil rose 2.88 percent to 107,000 won.

Other blue chips closed higher with chemical heavyweight LG Chem jumping 4.38 percent to 333,500 won and top shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries adding 2.23 percent to 275,000 won.

GS Retail, an affiliate of GS Group, surged by the daily limit of 14.87 percent to 22,400 won on its first day of trading.

In contrast, Woori Finance Holdings lost 1.23 percent to 9,650 won on market talk the top banking group is planning a rights offering. Woori Finance denied the rumor through a regulatory filing.

Leading discount chain operator E-mart slumped 3.06 percent to 269,000 won.

The local currency ended at 1,150.4 won against the greenback, up 5.8 won from Thursday’s close, on the back of the KOSPI’s rise and eased fears over a U.S. economic recession, dealers said. 

(Yonhap News)