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Seoul shares at over 2-week high on eased US default woes

May 18, 2023 - 16:04 By Yonhap
An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)

South Korean stocks rose to an over two-week high Thursday as investor sentiment was buoyed by rising hopes that Washington would reach a deal on the debt ceiling. The Korean won gained ground against the greenback.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 20.74 points, or 0.83 percent, to finish at 2,515.4. It is the highest closing point since 2,524.39 on May 2.

Trading volume was moderate at 558.3 million shares worth 7.64 trillion won ($5.72 billion), with winners far outnumbering losers 579 to 271.

Offshore investors scooped up 526.7 billion won worth of local shares, extending their net-buy streak to three straight sessions.

Institutions and individuals dumped a combined 525.9 billion won.

"The Kospi made a moderate rebound on the back of eased US default woes," Choi Yun-ah, an analyst from Shinhan Securities Co., said. "Led by lifted US market sentiment, foreign investors purchased local stocks for the third consecutive days, focusing on large-cap shares."

In Seoul, most market heavyweights were among the winners for Thursday.

Tech giant Samsung Electronics rose 1.85 percent to 66,200 won and its rival LG Electronics added 0.98 percent to 113,000 won.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor advanced 0.98 percent to 206,500 won and its auto parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis went up 2.69 percent to 229,000 won.

Banking and retail sectors were also in positive territory, with KB Financial Group rising 1.33 percent to 49,500 won and leading retailer Lotte Shopping climbing 1.36 percent to 82,200 won.

But pharmaceutical firms went south as SK Bioscience fell 1.78 percent to 77,400 won and Samsung Biologics declined 0.89 percent to 780,000 won.

The local currency ended at 1,334.2 won against the US dollar, up 3 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)