Kospi surmounts 2,200 for first time in five months
Stocks finished above the 2,200-level for the first time in nearly five months on Wednesday, largely on hopes for a coronavirus vaccine and economic recovery. The won rose against the dollar.
The Kospi rose 18.27 points, or 0.84 percent, to close at 2,201.88. The index surpassed 2,200 for the first time since reaching 2,210.34 on Feb. 19.
Trading volume was high at about 811 million shares worth some 13.4 trillion won ($11.2 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 547 to 291.
Foreigners bought a net 268 billion won, extending their buying streak to a third session, while retail investors sold a net 601 billion won. Institutions purchased a net 337 billion won.
"Positive news regarding the Covid-19 vaccine development raised optimism for economic rebound, boosting the local stock markets," said Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young.
The Kospi was bullish following reports that the Covid-19 vaccine developed by U.S. biopharmaceutical firm Moderna Inc. showed progress. The vaccine produced antibodies in all patients during an initial safety trial, according to reports, leading to an overnight rally on Wall Street.
The Kospi, however, erased some of its earlier gains amid rising political tensions between the United States and China Korea's two largest trading partners.
Most large caps closed higher in Seoul.
Samsung Electronics gained 1.67 percent to 54,700 won, while SK hynix edged up 0.12 percent to 83,000 won.
Samsung BioLogics added 1.9 percent to 749,000 won, but Celltrion dipped 2.47 percent to 316,000 won.
Hyundai Motor spiked 7.39 percent to 109,000 won, thanks to the government's recent blueprint to foster green-energy mobility. Hyundai's smaller affiliate Kia Motors jumped 3.53 percent to 35,200 won.
The local currency closed at 1,200.5 won per dollar, up 5.2 won from the previous session's close.
The secondary Kosdaq was up 2.90 points, or 0.37 percent, to close at 781.29.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year bonds lost 0.9 basis points to 0.847 percent, while the return on the benchmark ten-year government bond added 0.6 basis points to reach 0.62 percent.
BY CHEA SARAH, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]