Kospi hits an all-time high of 2,755.47
Korean stocks closed at an all-time high Wednesday, driven by the progress of Covid-19 vaccines and optimism over U.S. stimulus talks. The won rose against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi rose 54.54 points, or 2.02 percent, to close at 2,755.47.
Trading volume was high at about 1.2 billion shares worth some 16.8 trillion won ($15.5 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 658 to 192.
Foreigners bought a net 162 billion won, while retail investors sold a net 510 billion won. Institutions purchased a net 311 billion won.
"Investor sentiment was boosted by the launch of mass vaccinations in Britain and the developments about the U.S. FDA's [Food and Drug Administration] authorization of emergency use for [Pfizer's] vaccine," NH Investment & Securities analyst Noh Dong-kil said.
"Anticipation of an additional U.S. relief package also helped stop the Kospi's downward pressure," he said.
Chipmakers, automakers and steelmakers fared well, with reignited stimulus hopes in the United States, following Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's offer to set aside some factors from the relief package.
Samsung Electronics jumped 3.07 percent to 73,900 won, and chipmaker SK hynix surged 4.78 percent to 120,500 won.
Hyundai Motor advanced 2.68 percent to 191,500 won, and leading steelmaker Posco moved up 2.82 percent to 273,000 won.
Chemical firm LG Chem gained 3.08 percent to 836,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI rose 2.35 percent to 566,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics lost 0.72 percent to 822,000 won, but Celltrion added 1 percent to 353,500 won.
Internet portal Naver went up 1.05 percent to 288,000 won, and its rival Kakao edged up 0.13 percent to 375,000 won.
The Kosdaq rose 6.97 points, or 0.77 percent, to close at 913.81.
The local currency was trading at 1,084.8 won against the dollar, down 0.6 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The return on the three-year bond gained 0.8 basis points to close at 0.967 percent, and the return on the 10-year bond lost 0.7 basis points to close at 0.91 percent.
BY LEE JEE-YOUNG, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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