Another session, another record high for the Kospi
The Korean stock market extended its all-time high for a fifth consecutive session Monday, backed by chip and pharmaceutical gains amid the government's strengthened social distancing measures. The won closed unchanged at a nearly 30-month high against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi rose 13.99 points, or 0.51 percent, to close at 2,745.44.
Trading volume was high at about 1.5 billion shares worth some 17.7 trillion won ($16.4 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 551 to 300.
Retail investors purchased a net 1 trillion won, while foreigners sold a net 89 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 924 billion won.
Stocks traded mixed on soaring new coronavirus cases, but chip and pharmaceutical gains eventually led the Kospi's rebound.
"Institutions and foreigners sold on profit-taking desire and increased valuation pressure, but individual investors' buying spree for chip shares kept the index in positive terrain," Hana Financial & Investment analyst Lee Young-gon said.
Over the weekend, the government raised the social distancing scheme to the second-highest Level 2.5, ordering karaoke halls and indoor fitness facilities to close and limiting business hours for restaurants, cinemas and department stores.
Large caps traded mixed in Seoul.
Samsung Electronics added 1.96 percent to 72,900 won, and chipmaker SK hynix advanced 2.61 percent to 118,000 won. Both firms finished at all-time highs.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics spiked 6.67 percent to 880,000 won, and Celltrion surged 6.18 percent to 403,500 won.
Internet portal Naver shed 1.53 percent to 289,500 won, with its rival Kakao losing 1.16 percent to 385,000 won.
Chemical maker LG Chem fell 3.55 percent to 816,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI dropped 0.91 percent to 546,000 won.
Hyundai Motor declined 1.53 percent to 193,500 won, while steelmaker Posco moved up 1.69 percent to 270,000 won.
The Kosdaq gained 13.12 points, or 1.44 percent, to close at 926.88.
The local currency closed at 1,182.1 won per dollar, unchanged 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 0.963 percent, and the return on the 10-year bond added six basis points to close at 0.96 percent.
BY LEE JEE-YOUNG, YONHAP [email@example.com]