Kospi sets another all-time high as optimism continues
The benchmark Kospi rose 15.17 points, or 0.58 percent, to close at 2,617.76.
Trading volume was high at about 1.3 billion shares worth some 16.6 trillion won ($14.9 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 528 to 299.
Foreigners bought a net 726 billion won, while retail investors sold a net 24 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 694 billion won.
The Kospi gained for a fifth consecutive session despite spreading Covid-19 cases, largely on massive foreign buying.
Investor sentiment ran high in the global financial markets, as progress in Covid-19 vaccine development fueled optimism that the economy and trade would normalize down the road.
Foreigners extended their buying spree for a 14th straight session, the longest since the 19-session streak that ended in August 2016.
"The spreading Covid-19 outbreaks continued to channel money from the United States and Europe into the emerging markets," said Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young.
Most large caps closed higher, led by chipmakers, automakers and battery makers.
Samsung Electronics added 0.3 percent to a fresh record high of 67,700 won, but chipmaker SK hynix lost 1.4 percent to 98,600 won.
Chemical firm LG Chem spiked 6.82 percent to 799,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI surged 4.94 percent to 552,000 won.
Hyundai Motor, the country's largest carmaker, moved up 1.12 percent to 181,000 won. Steelmaker Posco rose 0.41 percent to 244,500 won.
Internet portal giant Naver advanced 0.36 percent to 282,500 won, and its rival Kakao went up 1.63 percent to 373,000 won.
Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics slipped 0.25 percent to 802,000 won, while Celltrion edged up 0.17 percent to 301,500 won.
The Kosdaq lost 1.19 points, or 0.14 percent, to close at 872.10.
The local currency closed at 1,112.7 won against the dollar, up 2.3 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The return on the three-year bond gained 1.1 basis points to close at 0.965 percent, and the return on the 10-year bond gained 2.5 basis points to close at 0.85 percent.
BY CHEA SARAH, YONHAP [email@example.com]