Kospi breaks record for second day in a row
The benchmark Kospi rose 41.65 points, or 1.58 percent, to close at 2,675.9.
Trading volume was high at 1.05 billion shares worth around 16.9 trillion won ($15.3 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 475 to 353.
Foreigners bought a net 514.1 billion won, while retail investors sold a net 243.6 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 248.1 billion won.
The benchmark index got off to a strong start, reaching as high as 2,677.26 on hopes of Covid-19 vaccines becoming available soon.
The European Medicines Agency said Tuesday it received applications for emergency approval of vaccines developed by Pfizer with BioNTech and Moderna.
A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers also proposed a stimulus worth $908 billion on Tuesday, keeping hopes of a large relief package alive.
A rosy forecast for memory chips next year further boosted investor sentiment.
"Memory chip supply is expected to decrease early next year, while demand is set to rise," Doh Hyun-woo, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities, said. "DRAM prices will start to rise from the second quarter next year."
Most large caps in Seoul ended mixed.
Samsung Electronics jumped 2.51 percent to 69,500 won, and chipmaker SK hynix soared 8.46 percent to 109,000 won.
Chemical maker LG Chem added 3.96 percent to 841,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI rose 0.91 percent to 552,000 won.
Pharmaceutical giant Celltrion advanced 0.87 percent to 347,000 won, while Samsung Biologics dipped 0.38 percent to 790,000 won.
Internet portal giant Naver fell 0.7 percent to 283,500 won, with its rival Kakao retreating 0.4 percent to 373,000 won.
Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, slipped 0.54 percent to 182,500 won.
The Kosdaq gained 8.05 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 899.34.
The local currency closed at 1,100.8 won per dollar, down 5.4 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The return on the three-year bond lost 0.1 basis points to 0.982 percent, and the return on the 10-year bond added 8.3 basis points to close at 0.92 percent.
BY CHEA SARAH, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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