Kospi hits another record high despite Covid spike
The benchmark Kospi added 24.37 points, or 0.94 percent, to close at 2,625.91.
Trading volume was moderate at about 1.4 billion shares worth some 12.5 trillion won ($11.3 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 433 to 393.
Foreigners purchased a net 254 billion won, and retail investors purchased a net 256 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 527 billion won.
Stocks got off to a weak start on Wall Street losses that stemmed from disappointing U.S. economic indices but gained ground as the Bank of Korea (BOK) slightly revised up this year's economic outlook.
The BOK revised up this year's economic growth outlook to a 1.1 percent contraction, up from the previous forecast of a 1.3 percent retreat. Next year's forecast was also raised to a 3 percent expansion, up from the previous 2.8 percent growth forecast.
"The BOK's growth revision and advances by certain virus-favorable stocks seem to have pulled up the local stocks again," Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said.
Tech and battery heavyweights performed strong amid concerns of the third wave of Covid-19 infections.
Korea added 583 new Covid-19 cases Thursday, the highest daily increase since March.
Samsung Electronics added 2.1 percent to 68,000 won, and chipmaker SK hynix gained 2.26 percent to 99,400 won.
Chemical maker LG Chem jumped 3.55 percent to 816,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI hiked 2.23 percent to 550,000 won.
Internet portal giant Naver advanced 2.51 percent to 285,500 won, with its rival Kakao moving up 1.91 percent to 374,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics shed 0.5 percent to 799,000 won, and Celltrion slipped 0.15 percent to 329,500 won.
Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, fell 0.28 percent to 179,000 won, and steelmaker Posco declined 1.02 percent to 242,500 won.
The Kosdaq gained 9.41 points, or 1.09 percent, to close at 874.53.
The local currency closed at 1,104.6 won per dollar, down 4.3 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The three-year bond gained 1.1 basis points to 0.981 percent, and the return on the 10-year bond lost 0.1 basis points to close at 0.88 percent.
BY CHEA SARAH, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]