Hyundai Merchant Advances on North Korea Optimism: Seoul Mover

Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. gained the most in more than two weeks in Seoul stock trading, on optimism of improving relations between North and South Korea.

Hyundai Merchant climbed by the daily 15 percent limit at the close in Seoul, the most since June 17. The company is the biggest shareholder in Hyundai Asan Corp., which manages a resort in communist North Korea. Romanson Co. and Shinwon Corp., which run plants in the North Korean border city of Gaeseong, both jumped more than 8 percent.

The two Koreas officially restored a hotline at the border village of Panmunjom today. North Korea said yesterday it will allow South Korean businessmen back into the jointly-run Gaeseong industrial complex, which has been shut since the North withdrew its workers in April. South Korea proposed holding talks with North Korea regarding Gaeseong on July 6 at Panmunjom, the South’s Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung Suk said at a briefing today.

“Possibilities are rising that the two Koreas may restart talks, giving a boost to investor sentiment that business with North Korea may take off soon,” said Kang Seong Jin, an analyst at Tongyang Securities, says by phone today.

The benchmark Kospi index rose 0.8 percent. Hyundai Merchant was the best performer in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which added 0.7 percent.