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Seoul: Shares close at record high on chip, auto boost

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares extended gains on Thursday to close at a record high, on a boost from chip and auto stocks, while developments related to coronavirus vaccines and stimulus hopes also aided sentiment.

The won strengthened to its highest since June 2018, and the benchmark bond yield also rose.

The benchmark Kospi closed 20.32 points or 0.76 per cent higher at 2,696.22, marking the third straight session of gains.

The country's financial markets opened an hour later than usual at 1am GMT due to a nationwide college entrance exam.

Chip giants Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix jumped as much as 1.44 per cent and 5.05 per cent, respectively, gaining for the third straight day, with both stocks hitting record highs earlier in the session.

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Shares of Hyundai Motor and affiliate Kia Motors surged 7.67 per cent and 6.41 per cent, respectively, after reporting strong November sales.

Celltrion and its affiliates gained on hopes of conditional approval for the use of its Covid-19 drug, CT-P59, while Daewoong Pharma also rose as the company sought regulatory approval for Phase II trials of its Covid-19 drug.

Foreigners were net buyers of 211.8 billion won (S$257.1 million) worth of Kospi shares.

Meanwhile, local media reported on Thursday that the country has reached a deal with AstraZeneca to purchase its coronavirus vaccine candidate.

The won ended at 1,097.0 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.35 per cent higher than its previous close at 1,100.8, the strongest since June 2018.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,094.5, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,094.4.

In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.01 point to 111.58.

The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 0.1 basis point to 0.981 per cent.

REUTERS

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