Kospi hits two-year high on exports, news on vaccine
The stock market hit a two-year high Wednesday as investor sentiment improved on stronger exports and Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine test results. The won surged to a 23-month high against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi rose 33.04 points, or 1.35 percent, to close at 2,485.87 points, the highest closing since 2,487.25 points on May 3, 2018, and extended its winning streak to an eighth day.
Trading volume was high at about 1.3 billion shares worth some 18 trillion won ($16.2 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 575 to 290.
Foreigners bought a net 834 billion won, while retail investors sold a net 1.2 trillion won. Institutions purchased a net 402 billion won.
Foreigners raked in local stocks for a fifth consecutive session, as the won continued to soar against the U.S. greenback.
The local currency closed at 1,110.0 won against the dollar, down 5.1 won from the previous session's close and the highest since 1.105.3 on Dec. 4, 2018.
Amid a bullish run, the combined market cap of the Kospi and the tech-heavy, secondary Kosdaq markets stood at a record high of 2,032 trillion won upon the session's close. The previous record was 2,019 trillion won on Jan. 29, 2018, according to the Korea Exchange (KRX) data.
The Kospi’s market cap alone stood at 1,703.95 trillion won.
"Easing U.S. election uncertainties and the progress in [Covid-19] vaccine development have increased the inflow of cash for risky assets and expanded the size of global stock markets," the KRX said in a statement.
Investors remained optimistic about Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine test results. Positive comments by top U.S. infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci backed such optimism.
"Anticipation for the Covid-19 vaccine development seems to have pulled up the stock index," said Samsung Securities analyst Seo Jeong-hoon.
Korea's exports jumped 20.1 percent on year in the first 10 days of November, raising hopes for a quick economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Chip and auto exports increased 31.9 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively.
In Seoul, most large caps closed higher.
Samsung Electronics advanced 1.83 percent to 61,300 won, with chipmaker SK hynix gaining 0.58 percent to 87,000 won.
Chemical firm LG Chem shed 1.42 percent to 692,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI shed 3.94 percent to 512,000 won.
Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics added 1.2 percent to 761,000 won, and Celltrion spiked 7.23 percent to 296,500 won.
Hyundai Motor moved up 1.15 percent to 175,500 won.
Internet portal Naver fell 1.06 percent to 280,000 won, and its rival Kakao slipped 0.14 percent to 355,500 won.
The Kosdaq dropped by 0.89 points, or 0.11 percent, to close at 839.9.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year bonds added 1.6 basis points to 0.989 percent, and the return on the 10-year bond added 2.9 basis points to 0.96 percent.
BY LEE JEE-YOUNG, YONHAP [email@example.com]