Kospi inches up to keep winning streak going
Stocks closed a tad higher Thursday, extending gains to a ninth session on institutional and individual buying. The won rose against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi rose 5.18 points, or 0.21 percent, to close at 2,437.53.
Trading volume was high at about 892 million shares worth some 18 trillion won ($15.2 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 481 to 359.
The index came to a strong start but erased most of the gains on strong foreign sell-off. Foreigners dumped a net 352 billion won on profit-taking, the largest amount since July 7.
Retail investors purchased a net 157 billion won, and institutions bought a net 186 billion won.
"The money move generated by individual investors has become a significant force in the financial markets," Hana Financial Investment analyst Kim Yong-koo said.
Rising hopes for new coronavirus vaccines also boosted investor sentiment.
Clinical trials on three locally developed vaccine candidate materials for Covid-19 are expected to start within this year, South Korean health authorities said.
Most large caps closed lower.
Samsung Electronics lost 0.51 percent to 58,700 won, while chipmaker SK hynix retreated 0.37 percent to 80,700 won.
Chemical maker LG Chem shed 0.54 percent to 737,000 won.
Automaker Hyundai Motor dipped 1.16 percent to 170,000 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors dropped 0.77 percent to 44,900 won.
Among gainers, drugmaker Celltrion spiked 2.15 percent to 308,500 won, as the company began selling Covid-19 diagnostic kits in the United States.
Game publisher NCsoft surged 5.53 percent to 897,000 won on estimate-beating quarterly earnings, with its rival Netmarble staying flat at 149,500 won.
Internet giant Naver climbed 0.66 percent to 307,000 won, and its rival Kakao added 1.84 percent to 360,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,183.30 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.0 won from the previous session's close.
The secondary Kosdaq added 9.17 points, or 1.08 percent, to close at 854.77.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year bonds lost 1.2 basis points to 0.815 percent, while the return on the benchmark ten-year government bond added 3.4 basis points to reach 0.67 percent.
BY CHEA SARAH, YONHAP [email@example.com]