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Seoul: Stocks hit 5-month closing high on coronavirus vaccine hopes

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares rose on Wednesday to a five-month closing high, as encouraging results from an early-stage study of an experimental Covid-19 vaccine lifted risk appetite. The Korean won strengthened, while the benchmark bond yield fell.

The benchmark Kospi climbed 18.27 points or 0.84 per cent to 2,201.88, its highest close since Feb 19.

Sharp overnight gains on Wall Street also boosted sentiment, with biotech company Moderna surging 18 per cent in extended trade after its Covid-19 vaccine showed it was safe and provoked immune responses in an ongoing early-stage study.

South Korea's unemployment rate fell marginally in June, but remained high in historical terms as businesses and labour markets continued to face pressure from the pandemic, which has infected more than 13.21 million people globally so far.

Shares of Hyundai Motor, the nation's largest carmaker, closed up 7.4 per cent, a day after South Korea announced a "green new deal" project to spur use of environment friendly vehicles.

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Foreigners were net buyers of 267.80 billion won (S$309 million) worth of shares on the main board.

The won ended trading at 1,200.5 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.43 per cent higher than its previous close at 1,205.7.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,200.9 per US dollar, up 0.3 per cent from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,200.7.

The trading volume during the session in the Kospi index was 811.31 million shares. Of the total traded issues of 900, the number of advancing shares was 545.

In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.03 point to 112.00.

The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 0.8 basis point to 0.848 per cent in late afternoon trade, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 0.2 basis point to 1.417 per cent.

REUTERS

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