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(LEAD) Seoul stocks gain for 4th session on easing virus woes

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)

SEOUL, Dec. 6 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks advanced for the fourth straight session Monday on easing woes over the impact of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 4.92 points, or 0.17 percent, to close at 2,973.25 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 468 million shares worth some 9.1 trillion won (US$7.7 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 543 to 319.

Foreigners bought a net 97 billion won and institutions purchased 58 billion won, while retail investors offloaded 169 billion won.

Stocks got off to a weak start, taking a cue from overnight losses on Wall Street that stemmed from worries about the omicron variant. After a choppy session, the KOSPI closed higher on tech and auto rebound.

“The KOSPI gained ground on investors’ anticipation for chip gains and reports about the lighter-than-expected symptoms of the omicron variant,” Eugene Investment & Securities analyst Huh Jae-hwan said.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics advanced 0.93 percent to 76,300 won and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gained 0.42 percent to 118,500 won.

Leading carmaker Hyundai Motor increased 0.24 percent to 206,500 won, with its smaller affiliate Kia climbing 1.7 percent to 83,900 won. Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics edged up 0.11 percent to 901,000 won.

Among losers, internet portal operator Naver retreated 2.49 percent to 392,000 won, and bank top cap Kakao Bank declined 2.67 percent to 65,700 won.

The local currency closed at 1,183 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.9 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 3.5 basis points to 1.875 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 1.4 basis points to 2.013 percent.

jwc@yna.co.kr
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