Buying mode is back, taking Kospi to a 33-month high
Korean shares hit a 33-month high Wednesday on a rally in bio stocks amid concerns over a flare-up of the pandemic. The won surged to a 29-month high against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi rose 6.49 points, or 0.26 percent, to close at 2,545.64. The reading marks the highest closing since 2,568.54 points on Feb. 1, 2018.
Trading volume was moderate at about 911 million shares worth some 13.3 trillion won ($12 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 490 to 341.
Foreigners purchased a net 95 billion won, extending their buying streak to a 10th session, while retail investors sold a net 126 billion won. Institutions bought a net 52 billion won.
"Buying mode seems to have reignited after the Kospi took a breather yesterday, with Covid-19 vaccine optimism still running high in the markets," said Hana Financial & Investment analyst Lee Young-gon.
Strong bio gains led the Kospi's gain amid surging new Covid-19 cases at home, while chip and auto heavyweights dropped.
Korea's new coronavirus cases hit a nearly three-month high Wednesday, with authorities warning that infections may further increase due to cluster infections in greater Seoul.
In Seoul, most large caps closed mixed.
Samsung Electronics lost 1.37 percent to 64,800 won, and chipmaker SK hynix slipped 0.1 percent to 98,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics spiked 4.91 percent to 812,000 won, and Celltrion gained 1.75 percent to 291,000 won after announcing its production expansion plan.
Naver jumped 2.18 percent to 281,000 won, with its rival Kakao up 0.97 percent to 365,500 won.
LG Chem advanced 3.35 percent to 709,000 won, and Samsung SDI gained 1.52 percent to 501,000 won.
Hyundai Motor fell 1.64 percent to 179,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,103.8 won per dollar, down 2.8 won from the previous session's close and the highest since 1,097.8 on June 15, 2018.
The Kosdaq rose 12.27 points, or 1.46 percent, to close at 851.74.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on the three-year bond lost 0.7 basis points to 0.949 percent, and the return on the 10-year bond fell 4.5 basis points to 0.85 percent.
BY LEE JEE-YOUNG, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]