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Seoul stocks close higher on tech, bio gains

Monitoring Desk

SEOUL: South Korean stocks closed higher Tuesday, led by gains in large-cap tech and bio shares, analysts said. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 8.69 points, or 0.38 percent, to close at 2,315.72. Trade volume was light at 266 million shares worth 4.3 trillion won (US$3.86 billion), with winners outnumbering losers 445 to 357.

After a choppy session in the morning, the index rebounded late in the afternoon as blue chips gained ground.

“Strong performance by pharmaceutical and bio shares seem to have boosted the overall investment sentiment,” said Lee Young-gon, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment.

Foreigners bought a net 14.4 billion won worth of local stocks, while individuals and institutional investors offloaded 34 billion won and 5.6 billion won worth of stocks, respectively.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 0.42 percent to close at 47,650 won, and SK hynix, a major chipmaker, added 0.74 percent to 81,200 won.

Pharmaceutical giant Celltrion jumped 4.87 percent to close at 280,000 won, and Hanmi Pharm was up 1.39 percent to 509,000 won.

Last week, Kim Yong-beom, vice chief of the Financial Services Commission, hinted at relaxing accounting regulations for local pharmaceuticals’ research and development expenditures.

Auto shares had a mixed day.

No. 1 carmaker Hyundai Motor moved up 1.2 percent to 126,500, while its smaller affiliate Kia Motors was down 0.63 percent to 31,600 won. The business group’s auto parts subsidiary Hyundai Mobis remained flat at 226,500 won.

LG Chem, the country’s leading chemical firm, lost 0.14 percent to 367,500 won, and top steelmaker POSCO also surrendered 0.94 percent to 316,500 won.

The South Korean currency closed at 1,114.90 won against the US dollar, down 4.6 won from Monday’s close.

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