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Seoul shares close higher on tech, auto gains

May 20, 2024 - 16:05 By Yonhap
An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)

South Korean stocks finished higher Monday led by strong gains in chip and auto heavyweights ahead of key events in the United States. The local currency fell slightly against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index climbed 17.52 points, or 0.64 percent, to 2,742.14, rebounding from a 1.03 percent drop the previous session.

Trade volume was moderate at 572.2 million shares worth 12.1 trillion won ($8.92 billion), with losers slightly beating winners 474 to 402.

Institutions purchased a net 397.5 billion won worth of local shares to push up the index, while individual investors sold a net 365.6 billion won and foreigners dumped a net 30 billion won.

Experts noted that investors are awaiting key events later this week, including the release of US AI chip giant Nvidia's first quarter earnings report and the minutes of the Fed's May meeting.

In Seoul, semiconductor shares led the increase as Samsung Electronics, the world's largest memory chipmaker and the biggest share on the Kospi in terms of market cap, rose 1.94 percent to 78,900 won, and its rival and No. 2 cap SK hynix edged up 0.11 percent to 190,100 won.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor advanced 2.66 percent to 250,500 won, and its sister Kia gained 1.95 percent to 114,900 won.

Food shares were also strong, with industry leader CJ Cheiljedang jumping 2.55 percent to 342,000 won and Donwong F&B increasing 2.28 percent to 40,400 won.

But battery companies went bearish as LG Energy Solution fell 1.2 percent 372,000 won and Samsung SDI dropped 1.62 percent to 424,000 won.

K-pop powerhouse Hybe lost 1.39 percent to 191,200 won, and entertainment giant CJ ENM retreated 2.64 percent to 81,100 won.

The local currency ended at 1,355.9 won against the US dollar, down 1 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)