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Seoul: Stocks hit new highs on signs of thawing China ties

[SEOUL] South Korean shares rallied to end at another all-time high on Friday, as signs of an improvement in ties between Beijing and Seoul helped to brighten market sentiment.

Market participants also reacted positively to the European Central Bank's dovish stance from Thursday's policy meeting, which fuelled global investors' risk-on appetite.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) closed up 0.6 per cent at 2,496.63 points, the highest close on record.

Hotel Lotte was told by Chinese tour company Ctrip that it is considering resuming sales of individual tours to South Korea on its website, Yonhap News Agency said, which pushed Lotte Tour Development shares up 30 per cent, their daily stock trading limit.

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Offshore investors purchased a net 95.6 billion won (S$115.94 million) worth of Kospi shares for the day.

The benchmark index marked its sixth positive week, gaining 0.3 per cent this week.

Meanwhile, the South Korean won slumped as the ECB's softer tone lent support to the greenback.

The won was quoted at 1,130.5 to the US dollar at the conclusion of onshore trade, down 0.5 per cent from Thursday's close of 1,124.6.

The currency was barely changed for the week.