Seoul stocks up for 5th session on tech, auto gains

SEOUL, Dec. 7 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks extended their winning streak to a fifth session Tuesday after choppy trading, led by advances in tech and auto shares. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) advanced 18.47 points, or 0.62 percent, to close at 2,991.72 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 528 million shares worth some 9.9 trillion won (US$8.4 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 586 to 268.

Foreigners bought a net 207 billion won, while institutions sold 80 billion won and retail investors offloaded 140 billion won.

Stock prices fluctuated as investors interpreted the estimate-beating U.S. jobs data in November in different ways.

The strong U.S. data fueled hopes of quick recovery from the pandemic, while fanning concerns that the Federal Reserve could hasten its key rate hike to reign in the inflation pressure.

Investor sentiment also improved on the easing concerns about the omicron strain of the new coronavirus.

“In a macroscopic way, investors seem to be relieved by the early data that the omicron risk may not be so catastrophic,” Mirae Asset Securities analyst Park Gwang-nam said.

In Seoul, the market was led by gains in tech, auto and financial stocks.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 1.44 percent to 77,400 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gained 2.53 percent to 121,500 won.

Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics retreated 2.66 percent to 877,000 won, with Celltrion shedding 1.45 percent to 203,500 won.

Internet portal operator Naver declined 0.26 percent to 391,000 won, but bank top cap Kakao Bank gained 2.74 percent to 67,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,179.5 won against the U.S. dollar, up 3.5 won from the previous session’s close.