Stock market flat on mix of terrible, hopeful news
The Kospi shed 0.15 points, or 0.01 percent, to finish at 1,928.61.
Trading volume was moderate at 762 million shares worth 7.2 trillion won ($5.8 billion), with gainers outpacing losers 527 to 297.
The index opened lower following dismal economic data from the United States and Europe.
U.S. employment data showed that private sector companies cut a record 20.2 million jobs last month, while the Europe Commission announced that the region's economy is expected to contract by 7.4 percent this year, its worst fall since the Great Depression in the 1930s.
The index turned higher, advancing as much as 0.5 percent, after China reported that its exports in dollar terms rose 3.5 percent in April, bucking market expectations for a drop.
However, it lost steam later to settle just below the flat line.
Individual investors bought a net 253 billion won worth of stocks, while institutions scooped up a net 58 billion won. Foreigners offloaded a net 321 billion won on the Seoul bourse.
Large-cap stocks closed mixed.
Samsung Electronics lost 0.81 percent to 48,800 won, while chipmaker SK hynix stayed unchanged at 82,400 won.
Korea's automaker, Hyundai Motor, slid 0.64 percent to 92,600 won, and auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis plunged 1.73 percent to 170,000 won.
Major chemical firm LG Chem dipped 1.94 percent to 354,000 won, and steelmaker Posco declined 0.28 percent to 179,500 won.
The country's web portal operator Naver advanced 1.65 percent to 215,500 won, while Kakao, which runs the nation's mobile messenger app KakaoTalk, jumped 3.26 percent to 206,000 won.
The won closed at 1,225.00 won against the dollar, up 2.9 won from the previous session.
The secondary Kosdaq was up 9.77 points, or 1.48 percent, to close at 668.17.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year bonds lost 0.8 basis points to 0.951 percent, while the return on the benchmark 10-year government bond added 4.1 basis points to reach 0.70 percent.
BY KIM YEON-AH, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]