Seoul stocks advance on hopes for Ukraine-Russia talks

South Korean stocks closed higher Monday after choppy trading, backed by reports that Ukraine and Russia have agreed to talks. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 22.42 points, or 0.84 percent, to close at 2,699.18 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 604 million shares worth some 12.7 trillion won ($10.5 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 631 to 240.

Foreigners bought a net 89 billion won and retail investors purchased 289 billion won, while institutions offloaded 372 billion won.

The key stock index largely fluctuated according to developments in the military tensions in Ukraine.

After a weak start, stocks rebounded as investors digest a new set of sanctions by the United States and Western nations on Russia over the Kremlin’s attack on Ukraine.

“Stocks initially retreated on Russia’s consideration of using nuclear weapons, but rebounded on investors’ optimism about the Ukraine-Russia talks,” Kiwoom Securities analyst Kim Sae-heon said.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics increased 0.28 percent to 72,100 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix climbed 0.41 percent to 123,500 won.

Internet portal operator Naver grew 1.11 percent to 318,000 won, and top carmaker Hyundai Motor gained 0.57 percent to 175,000 won.

Among losers, giant battery maker LG Energy Solution lost 1.9 percent to 412,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,202.3 won against the US dollar, down 0.7 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.2 basis point to 2.242 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond closed unchanged at 2.468 percent. (Yonhap)

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