South Korean shares bounced back to six-year highs on Tuesday as April exports rose at a much faster-than-expected pace, boosting investment sentiment. Gains were also supported by optimism that the economy could pick up steam after the presidential election on May 9.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 0.9 percent to 2,226.18 points as of 0216 GMT. It touched a high of 2,229.74, the strongest level since April 27, 2011. “Market participants seem to believe April’s robust exports are a sign for another strong quarter in the April-June period,” said Kim Ji-hyung, a stock analyst at Hanyang Securities. Kim added that though there might be some profit-taking in coming days, the KOSPI is likely to climb higher on foreign buying.
Foreign investors were set to be strong net buyers, purchasing 135.6 billion Korean won ($119.93 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session. Tech giant Samsung Electronics looked set to extend its winning streak to a seventh straight session, rising nearly 1 percent.
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Shares of securities companies also gained. Samsung Securities rose nearly 3 percent and Shinyoung Securities 1 percent. Advancers outnumbered decliners 403 to 371. The South Korean won also strengthened on demand for local equities, while comments by U.S. President Donald Trump were seen as easing ongoing tensions between the United States and North Korea.
Trump on Monday opened the door to meeting North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, saying he would be honoured to meet the young leader under the right circumstances. The won was quoted at 1,130.6 against the dollar, up 0.6 percent compares to the previous close of 1,137.9. June futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.06 point to 109.38
(Reporting by Dahee Kim; Editing by Kim Coghill)