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Seoul: Stocks end higher on chipmakers; Kospi up for second week

[SEOUL] South Korean shares closed higher on Friday, marking its second straight weekly gain, as chipmakers jumped after an upbeat business outlook. The Korean won weakened modestly, while the benchmark bond yield rose.

The Kospi ended up 10.63 points, or 0.48 per cent, at 2,243.59, and added 1.43 per cent for the week.

Shares of Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix firmed 1.8 per cent and 2.5 per cent, respectively.

Memory demand and price trend would be strong despite the virus outbreak, Nomura analyst CW Chung said, adding that the brokerage revised their target prices upwards.

The coronavirus outbreak in China showed no sign of peaking with health authorities on Friday reporting more than 5,000 new cases.

South Korean central bank said it must take a cautious approach to any further rate cuts, as economic indicators need to be assessed carefully to gauge the impact of the epidemic on the economy.

Foreigners were net buyers of 93.6 billion won (S$110 million) worth of shares on the mainboard.

The won was quoted at 1,183.0 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.02 per cent lower than its previous close at 1,182.8.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,182.2 per US dollar, up 0.1 per cent from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading, its one-month contract was quoted at 1,182.5 per US dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.20 per cent, while US stocks fell slightly overnight. Japanese stocks fell 0.59 per cent.

The Kospi has risen 2.1 per cent so far this year, and gained 1.3 per cent in the previous 30 trading sessions.

The trading volume was 589.00 million shares. Of the total traded issues of 903, the number of advancing shares was 333.

The won has lost 2.2 per cent against the US dollar so far this year.

In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.20 point to 110.63, while the three-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.42 per cent in late afternoon trade.

The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 5.9 basis points to 1.335 per cent in late afternoon trade, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose by 4.3 basis points to 1.655 per cent. 

REUTERS