Seoul stocks up for second session despite Covid-19 spike
Stocks gained Monday for a second consecutive session as investors continued to look for deals despite the resurgence of coronavirus cases nationwide. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi rose 25.24 points, or 1.1 percent, to close at 2,329.83. Trading volume was moderate at about 640 million shares worth some 11.5 trillion won ($9.7 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 473 to 361.
Foreigners purchased a net 199 billion won in a two-day buying streak, and institutions bought a net 2.6 billion won, while retail investors sold a net 259 billion won.
Investors seem to be leaning toward bargain hunting of large caps after a 3.66 percent plunge last Thursday, analysts said.
"In a time of adjustment, investors tend to pour even more cash into undervalued stocks," said Hwang Se-woon, a senior researcher at the Korea Capital Market Institute.
However, analysts warned that the local financial markets are still facing high uncertainties amid spiking Covid-19 infections in the country.
Health authorities warned that the country may have to raise the current Level Two social distancing scheme to the highest Level Three if the spread continues this week.
Under Level Three, public gatherings with 10 or more people are banned, and restrictions are imposed on schools, cafes, movie theaters and wedding halls.
Most large caps closed higher in Seoul.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.36 percent to 56,100 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gained 1.34 percent to 75,500 won.
Samsung Biologics jumped 2.63 percent to 820,000 won, and Celltrion advanced 2.99 percent to 310,000 won.
Internet portal giant Naver added 2.4 percent to 320,000 won, and its rival Kakao rose 2.7 percent to 380,000 won.
Leading chemical maker LG Chem climbed 0.43 percent to 702,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI leaped 3.42 percent to 438,000 won.
Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, surged 3.53 percent to 161,500 won, while top steelmaker POSCO closed flat at 199,000 won.
The secondary Kosdaq added 19.73 points, or 2.48 percent, to close at 815.74.
The local currency closed at 1,189.1 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.8 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year bonds lost 0.3 basis points to 0.824 percent, while the return on the benchmark ten-year government bond lost 1.5 basis points to reach 0.63 percent.
BY LEE JEE-YOUNG, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]