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Seoul shares end higher on foreign buying amid eased recession, China woes

May 31, 2022 - 17:33 By Yonhap
An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

South Korean stocks closed higher for a third consecutive day Tuesday as foreigners scooped up local equities amid eased concerns over a global recession and China's economic slowdown, analysts said. The local currency inched up against the US dollar.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 16.24 points, or 0.61 percent, to close at 2,685.90. Trading volume was moderate at 649.8 million shares worth 13.64 trillion won ($11 billion) with gainers outpacing decliners 544 to 291.

"The expectation that the US inflation will peak out and the easing of China's COVID-19 restrictions in Shanghai whetted investor appetite for risky assets," Seo Sang-young, a Mirae Asset Securities analyst, said.

Foreigners bought a net 1.06 trillion won worth of local stocks, the largest since the 1.12 trillion won net purchase on Aug. 31 of last year.

Both individual and institutional investors were net sellers, offloading about 509 billion won and 585 billion won, respectively.

Chemical and auto shares led the KOSPI's gain. LG Chem jumped 5.03 percent to 585,000 won on news that it is setting up a joint venture with a Chinese miner for lithium-ion battery materials.

Top refiner SK Innovation rose 2.62 percent to 215,500 won, and smaller rival S-Oil also advanced 3.11 percent to 116,000 won.

No. 1 automaker Hyundai Motor closed 1.07 up to 189,500 won, and its affiliate Kia rose 2.51 percent to 85,700 won.

Top-cap Samsung Electronics finished down 0.44 percent to 67,400 won.

Banks and insurers were among the decliners. Internet-only Kakao Bank fell 1.57 percent to 40,650 won, and top life insurer Samsung Life Insurance shed 0.87 percent to 68,100 won.

The local currency ended at 1,237.20 won against the US dollar, up 1.4 won from Monday's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 8.5 basis points to 3.027 percent and the return on the five-year government bonds gained 11.2 basis points to 3.256 percent. (Yonhap)