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S. Korean stocks hit new high on expectations for new gov't

Updated: 05 23 , 2017 14:23
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SEOUL, May 22 -- South Korean stocks on Monday hit a new record high, breaking the previous record in a week on expectations for the new government's economic policy.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 15.55 points, or 0.68 percent, to settle at 2,304.03. Trading volume stood at 334.55 million shares worth 5.74 trillion won (5 billion U.S. dollars).

Expectations were running high for the new government's economic policy. President Moon Jae-in on Sunday appointed a new finance minister who doubles as deputy prime minister.

Kim Dong-yeon, the finance minister nominee, was a successful former government official, turning from a child breadwinner to a senior finance ministry official, who Moon said can understand the difficulties of ordinary people.

Moon pledged to focus on job creation and the reduction in irregular workers, which would increase household income and lead the income-based growth momentum.

Expectations spread for the rosy first-quarter earnings, boosting outlook for the South Korean economy.

Foreign investors led the KOSPI gain by purchasing a net 289 billion won worth of stocks, while institutional and individual investors sold shares worth 259 billion won and 90 billion won respectively.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 0.9 percent, and memory chip giant SK Hynix advanced 3.3 percent. Top steelmaker POSCO jumped 5 percent, and the most-used search engine Naver rose 1.8 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem climbed 1.8 percent, and the biggest wireless carrier SK Telecom added 0.8 percent.

The No.1 life insurer Samsung Life Insurance lost 1.3 percent, and the biggest cosmetics company Amore Pacific slid 0.1 percent.

South Korea's currency finished at 1,118.6 won against the greenback, up 8.6 won from the previous close.

Bond prices ended lower. Yields on the liquid three-year treasury notes added 1.4 basis points to 1.685 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds gained 3.4 basis points to 2.272 percent.

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