(LEAD) Seoul shares spike nearly 3 pct on tech earnings

South Korean stocks rose by almost 3 percent Friday, backed by techs, autos and financials following solid earnings reports from U.S. big techs. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) climbed 72.85 points, or 2.87 percent, to 2,615.31. Trade volume was high at 580 million shares worth 14.1 trillion won (US$10.7 billion), with winners far outpacing losers 710 to 180. Foreign investors and institutions drove up the KOSPI, buying shares worth 1.89 trillion won and 642.4 billion won, respectively, while individuals sold off 2.5 trillion won worth of stocks for profit taking. Overnight, U.S. stocks climbed as investors cheered sound earnings reports from Apple, Amazon and Meta Platforms. The S and P 500 gained 1.2 percent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq composite both rose 1 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively. Lee Kyoung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities, said autos and financials, which have been undervalued, surged, giving an upward impetus to the local stock market. In Seoul, big-cap shares gained big overall, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics up 2.17 percent to 75,200 won and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix up 1.66 percent to 134,900 won. Top automaker Hyundai Motor jumped 9.13 percent to 227,000 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia skyrocketed 12.42 percent to 119,500 won. Internet portal operator Naver shot up 9.38 percent to 221,500 won after the company announced record high annual sales last year, and Kakao, the operator of the country's top mobile messenger, soared 6.83 percent to 56,300 won. Leading chemical producer LG Chem also surged 7.21 percent to 461,000 won and steel giant POSCO Holdings rose 2.75 percent to 449,000 won. Battery and bio shares were also bullish. Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution gained 1.57 percent to 387,500 won, and bio giant Samsung Biologics advanced 3.62 percent to 859,000 won. Financial shares also gained ground, with Shinhan Financial Group up 6.59 percent to 45,300 w on, and Kakao Bank, the financial arm of Kakao, up 9.12 percent to 29,300 won. The local currency closed at 1,322.60 won against the greenback, up 9.20 won from the previous session's close. Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 1.9 basis points to 3.248 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds dropped 3.3 basis points to 3.260 percent. Source: Yonhap News Agency