(LEAD) Seoul shares rise for 2nd day on chips, platform gains

South Korean stocks ended higher Friday as chips and platform shares gathered ground on expectations for a better outlook despite recession woes. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 5.72 points, or 0.23 percent, to close at 2,501.53, extending the winning streak to a second session.

The key stock index went down 1.68 percent this week from a week ago.

Trading volume on Friday was moderate at 762.56 million shares worth 13.64 trillion won (US$10.18 billion), with decliners outpacing gainers 448 to 423.

The index opened higher, tracking overnight Wall Street gains, but bobbed in and out of positive terrain before ending with modest gains.

Retailers and foreigners bought a net 137.43 billion won and 297.81 billion won worth of shares, respectively, offsetting selling by institutions that amounted to a net 355.86 billion won.

“Strong gains of U.S. tech shares boosted investor sentiment, though recession woes have increased market volatility,” Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co., said.

The U.S. economy grew 1.1 percent in the first quarter, sharply down from 2.6 percent in the previous quarter. It also came far below the market estimate of 2 percent, according to U.S. government data.

In Seoul, chipmakers gathered ground, offsetting losses of batteries and chemicals on profit-taking.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 1.39 percent to 65,500 won after the tech giant Thursday flagged a gradual recovery for semiconductors in the second half of this year as it was cutting memory production. SK hynix advanced 0.79 percent to 89,500 won.

Internet giant Naver jumped 2.18 percent to 192,300 won, and Kakao, the operator of the popular mobile messenger KakaoTalk, spiked 4.12 percent to 58,100 won, tracking U.S. giant Meta Platforms’ jump after an upbeat quarterly report.

But leading battery maker LG Energy Solution fell 1.02 percent to 581,000 won on profit-taking, and top chemical firm LG Chem shed 0.13 percent to 740,000 won.

Samsung SDI sank 2.12 percent to 691,000 won.

Major carmakers also fell, with No. 1 automaker Hyundai Motor dropping 2.23 percent to 197,500 won and its affiliate Kia sinking 2.42 percent to 84,500 won.

Among decliners, No. 1 steelmaker POSCO Holdings lost 2.58 percent to 377,000 won, and battery components maker POSCO Future M fell 1.47 percent to 335,000 won.

The local currency ended at 1,337.7 won against the U.S. dollar, up 0.3 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 0.5 basis point to 3.293 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 1.9 basis points to 3.292 percent.

An electronic signboard at a Hana Bank dealing room in Seoul show the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index closed at 2,501.53 on April 28, 2023, up 0.23 percent from the previous session’s close.

Source: Yonhap News Agency