(LEAD) Seoul stocks at all-time high on eased tapering jitters

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)

SEOUL, May 10 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s stock market closed at an all-time high Monday as weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs data quelled concerns over the rollback of easing monetary policy and other stimulus measures. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) went up 52.1 points, or 1.63 percent, to close at 3,249.3 points. The previous record closing was 3,208.99 points on April 20.

Trading volume was moderate at about 996 million shares worth some 16.9 trillion won (US$15.2 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 690 to 180.

Foreigners bought a net 239 billion won, snapping their eight-session selling streak, while retail investors sold 1.2 trillion won. Institutions purchased a net 967 billion won.

The KOSPI got off to a solid start after extending its winning streak to a third session and expanded its gains amid strong foreign and institutional buying.

Investor sentiment remained high despite increased valuation pressure as U.S. jobs increased by 266,000 in April, far short of the projected 1 million.

The data vented much of the market worries stoked by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s comment that interest rates may have to rise to prevent the economy from overheating.

The U.S. government’s push for big spending also fueled market beliefs that it would not consider tapering anytime soon.

“The Biden administrations’ active stimulus drive raised the U.S. stock market and gave an upward impetus to the local stock market,” Mirae Asset Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said.

In Seoul, top cap Samsung Electronics advanced 1.59 percent to 83,200 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix moved up 0.39 percent to 130,000 won.

Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics gained 1.49 percent to 816,000 won, with Celltrion jumping 3.19 percent to 275,000 won.

Internet portal operator Naver climbed 0.28 percent to 362,000 won, and its rival Kakao advanced 1.31 percent to 116,000 won.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem retreated 0.76 percent to 912,000 won, and the country’s largest steelmaker POSCO increased 2.26 percent to 407,000 won. Top automaker Hyundai Motor rose 2.46 percent to 229,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,113.8 won against the U.S. dollar, up 7.5 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.1 basis point to 1.136 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 0.8 basis point to 1.635 percent.