Seoul shares up 1.28% on eased Europe woes
Korean stocks rose 1.28 percent Thursday as investor sentiment was buoyed by eased eurozone debt concerns, analysts said. The local currency climbed against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 25.06 points to close at 1,984.3. Trading volume was heavy at 625.8 million shares worth 8.6 trillion won (US$7.7 billion) with gainers outnumbering losers 536 to 284.
"Good news from Europe removed some of the biggest worries for investors," said market analyst Kwak Jung-bo at Samsung Securities Co. "Greece said talks with its private creditors on a bond swap will be completed soon, and Italy and Spain's borrowing costs declined to safer levels."
But the key index did not gain further momentum to accelerate the upward move as manufacturing surveys from around the world remained relatively grim, noted Kwak.
"The U.S. manufacturing sector index rose in January but fell behind market forecasts, meaning that the pace of economic recovery is still slow," he said.
Foreign investors snapped up a net 990.2 billion won worth of local shares, while institutions offloaded shares worth a net 222.8 billion won.
Optimism about European woes spurred gains in banks. Shinhan Financial Group rose 2 percent to 45,900 won and KB Financial Group climbed 2.97 percent to 43,400 won.
Builders were the biggest winners, with market leader Hyundai Engineering & Construction jumping 5.33 percent to 79,000 won and GS Engineering & Construction rising 2.9 percent to finish at 106,500 won.
Techs also closed higher. World's largest memory chipmaker Samsung Electronics added 0.09 percent to close at 1,080,000 won and LG Electronics shot up 7.35 percent to 90,500 won on its better-than-expected 2011 performance.
The local currency ended at 1,118.4 won against the greenback, up 7.9 won from Wednesday's close, on eased fear over the nagging eurozone crisis, dealers said.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed slightly lower. The yield on three-year Treasuries rose 0.01 percentage point to 3.38 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds gained 0.01 percentage point to 3.49 percent. (Yonhap)