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Stocks trade higher again, despite afternoon losses

May 2, 2017 - 17:36 By Son Ji-hyoung
Stocks in South Korea’s main bourse traded higher again, though earlier sharp gains evaporated in the afternoon Tuesday.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index ended at 2,219.67 on Tuesday, up 14.23 points, or 0.65 percent, over Friday, when it closed at 2,205.46 to end seven consecutive gains. The stock market did not open Monday for a public holiday.

The first-tier stock market hit its intraday high at around 11:47 a.m. at 2,229.74, approaching its all-time high mark of 2,231.47, set on April 27, 2011. The index, however, drifted downward twice, at 12:05 p.m. and 2:10 p.m.

On May 2, 2011, the market closed at 2,228.96, the highest close in its history. 

Trade volume had reached 290,920 stocks, with their total value at some 4.73 trillion won ($4.18 billion). Losers outnumbered gainers 429 to 363.

Market juggernaut Samsung Electronics hit record-highs five straight trading days. Its stock closed at 2,245,000 won, up 0.63 percent, or 14,000 won, from the previous session when it closed at 2,231,000 won.

Shares of other major players, such as carmaker Hyundai Motor and chipmaker SK hynix, climbed Tuesday. Hyundai Motor rose 7,000 won, or 4.86 percent, to 151,000 won, while SK hynix ended at 55,400 won, up 1,400 won, or 2.59 percent, from Friday.

Despite jitters on North Korea and a sharp fall in the yen, the South Korean stock market appears to be maintaining the upper hand against the Japanese market, given signs of “strong outperformance,” an analyst noted.

“While we acknowledge the risks in staying overweight Korea, valuations still favor Korea over Japan,” wrote Sakthi Siva, research analyst at Credit Suisse, in a report Tuesday.

Foreign investors’ net bond holdings exceeded 100 trillion won Tuesday. Meanwhile, interest rates of government bonds are projected to jump on the back of eased uncertainties, a local analyst said.

“The government bond interest rates have treaded water, but the momentum in May will test the ceiling of the interest rate of the 3-year treasury at 1.75 percent,” said Shin Dong-su, an analyst at Eugene Investment & Securities, in a Tuesday report.

The local currency remained strong at 1,130.50 won against the greenback, improving 0.88 percent, or 10 won, from the previous trading day’s closing.

By Son Ji-hyoung (