Seoul: Stocks close up on US recovery hopes; virus surge caps gains

[SEOUL] South Korean shares closed up for a sixth session in a row on Thursday on optimism from the US Federal Reserve's commitment to supportive policy, while worries over a surge in local coronavirus cases capped gains. The Korean won weakened, while the benchmark bond yield fell.

The benchmark Kospi rose 5.85 points or 0.19 per cent to 3,143.26 by 6.32am GMT.

Minutes of the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting showed members were in no rush to scale back their US$120 billion a month of bond buying.

South Korea reported 700 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, its highest daily tally since early January, and the prime minister reiterated warnings that new social distancing rules would likely be needed.

Trading volume wasn't big and it was a mixed market, after Nasdaq slipped a little, said Na Jeong-hwan, an analyst at DS Securities.

Among the heavyweights, technology giant Samsung Electronics fell 1.05 per cent and peer SK Hynix rose 0.35 per cent, while LG Chem fell 0.12 per cent and Naver fell 0.78 per cent.

Foreigners were net buyers of 107.5 billion won (S$129.1 million) worth of shares on the main board.

The won was quoted at 1,117.2 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.08 per cent lower than its previous close at 1,116.3.

The Kospi has risen 9.39 per cent so far this year, and gained 2.2 per cent in the previous 30 trading sessions.

The trading volume during the session in the Kospi index was 1,341.7 million shares. Of the total traded issues of 906, the number of advancing shares was 483.

The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 2.7 basis points to 1.154 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 4.6 basis points to 2.018 per cent.


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