Relaxed social distancing rules boost Seoul stocks
Stocks jumped more than 1 percent Monday on the back of advances in tech shares and eased social distancing measures against the coronavirus in Korea. The won rose against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi rose 31.22 points, or 1.3 percent, to close at 2,427.91.
Trading volume was moderate at about 953 million shares worth some 11.9 trillion won ($10.1 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 645 to 218.
Foreigners bought a net 144 billion won, while retail investors sold a net 288 billion won. Institutions purchased a net 96 billion won.
The index exceeded the 2,400-point mark, increasing for the third consecutive session.
Chipmakers continued to gain despite lingering valuation pressure.
"The Nasdaq and the Kospi are going through a [price] adjustment process," Hana Financial Investment analyst Lee Jae-man said.
"Such adjustment is likely to come to an end, if the U.S. Federal Reserve rolls out some concrete directions about the average inflation rate Thursday, and ensure the longevity of the current low-interest rate," he added.
Investor sentiment also improved as the Korean government eased the social distancing level to Level 2 in the greater Seoul area Monday.
Large caps closed mixed in Seoul.
Samsung Electronics jumped 2.37 percent to 60,400 won, with chipmaker SK hynix advancing 2.04 percent to 80,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics climbed 0.26 percent to 763,000 won, while Celltrion shed 0.84 percent to 296,000 won.
Internet portal giant Naver retreated 0.98 percent to 303,000 won, and its rival Kakao lost 1.45 percent to 373,500 won.
Leading online game maker NCSoft added 1.47 percent to 830,000 won, while rival Netmarble lost 1.09 percent to 181,500 won.
Chemical maker LG Chem gained 0.99 percent to 712,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI gained 1.51 percent to 436,000 won.
Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, spiked 4.96 percent to 180,000 won, while Kia Motors jumped 4.96 percent to 44,400 won. Posco added 2.43 percent to 190,000 won.
The Kosdaq rose 5.73 points, or 0.64 percent, to close at 894.17.
The local currency closed at 1,183.5 won against the dollar, down 3.4 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year bonds lost 0.3 basis points to 0.921 percent, and the return on the 10-year bond fell 0.9 basis points to 0.66 percent.
BY CHEA SARAH, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]