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Seoul: Stocks rise on Hyundai Motor group's gains, Sino-U.S. trade hopes

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index closed higher on Wednesday buoyed by the gains in shares of the country's biggest carmaker Hyundai Motor Co and its affiliates, amid fresh hopes of a US-China trade war truce. Both the Korean won and bond yields also rose.

Hyundai Motor Co appointed president Albert Biermann as its first foreign head of research and development (R&D) as part of a sweeping reshuffle which helped send the South Korean carmaker's shares surging up to nearly 9 per cent on Wednesday.

In an interview with Reuters, US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would intervene in the Justice Department's case against a top executive at China's Huawei Technologies if it would serve national security interests or help close a trade deal with China.

Mr Trump also said that China was buying a "tremendous amount" of US soya beans and that trade talks with Beijing were already underway by telephone, with more meetings likely among US and Chinese officials.

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At 0633 GMT, the Kospi closed up 29.60 points or 1.44 per cent at 2,082.57.

Hyundai Motor Group shares jumped after appointment of a new R&D chief. Shares of Hyundai Motor Co ended 6.3 per cent higher, while its car parts affiliates Hyundai Mobis and Hyundai Wia closed up 9.0 per cent and 8.0 per cent, respectively. The company's logistics arm Hyundai Glovis also gained 9.6 per cent.

Hydrogen-powered car parts companies surged as Hyundai Motor Co and its suppliers plan to invest US$6.8 billion in research and development and to expand facilities related to fuel cell systems. Iljin Diamond Co Ltd and Neuros Co Ltd jumped 19.0 per cent and 10.9 per cent, respectively.

South Korean cosmetic brands popular among Chinese customers jumped after US President Donald Trump's fresh upbeat comment on a trade deal with China. Shares of Amorepacific Corp and Amorepacific Group closed up 8.0 per cent and 5.4 per cent each, while other firms such as Cosmax Inc rose 4.7 per cent.

The won was quoted at 1,128.5 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.14 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,130.1.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,128.25 per U.S. dollar, up 0.02 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,109.15 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 1.31 per cent, after U.S. stocks ended the previous session with losses. Japanese stocks rose 2.15 per cent.

The Kospi is down around 16.8 per cent so far this year, and down by 1.90 per cent in the previous 30 days.

The current price-to-earnings ratio is 12.10, the dividend yield is 1.28 per cent and the market capitalisation is 1,242.04 trillion won.

The trading volume during the session on the KOSPI index was 439,402,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 897, the number of advancing shares was 652.

Foreigners were net sellers of 48,371 million won worth of shares.

The US dollar has risen 5.8 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per dollar on April 2, 2018 and low is 1,146.26 on Oct 11. In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.05 points to 109.17.

The South Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.9 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.802 per cent, higher than the previous day's 1.79 per cent.

REUTERS