Seoul stocks rebound amid hopes of a U.S. stimulus deal
Stocks ended their two-day losing streak Wednesday, backed by optimism over the U.S. stimulus talks and positive reports related to U.S. biotech company Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine candidate. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi rose 14.97 points, or 0.54 percent, to close at 2,771.79.
Trading volume was high at about 1.1 billion shares worth some 13.3 trillion won ($12.2 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 542 to 284.
Foreigners sold a net 44 billion won, while institutions bought a net 198 billion won. Retail investors offloaded a net 138 billion won.
The Kospi rebounded largely on rosy expectations that the world's largest economy would hasten a fresh stimulus deal before its previous benefits expire by the end of the year, analysts said.
Large caps advanced, following U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's comment that lawmakers would have to stay in Washington until the $748 billion relief deal is clinched.
Investor sentiment was also boosted by reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirmed Moderna's vaccine candidate to be safe and effective in its preliminary analysis.
But the Kospi's gains eased as Korea added a daily record high of 1,078 more Covid-19 cases. Health authorities said the current second-highest social distancing measures have failed to curb the virus spread, hinting it would not hesitate to implement the toughest Level 3 if necessary.
"In today's session, local stocks seemed affected by bits of separate events and the investors' responses to them," said Bookook Securities researcher Lee Won.
Samsung Electronics closed unchanged at 73,800 won while chipmaker SK hynix also finished flat at 117,500 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics gained 0.88 percent to 807,000 won, but Celltrion shed 1.81 percent to 353,500 won.
Internet portal giant Naver rose 0.88 percent to 285,500 won, with its rival Kakao moving up 0.27 percent to 372,000 won.
Chemical maker LG Chem jumped 2.25 percent to 819,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI increased 2.17 percent to 564,000 won.
Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, advanced 0.8 percent to 190,000 won, and steelmaker Posco added 0.93 percent to 271,500 won.
The Kosdaq rose 8.38 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 939.65.
The local currency closed at 1,094.0 won per dollar, up 0.7 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The return on the three-year bond lost 0.3 basis points to close at 0.988 percent, and the return on the 10-year bond added 1.7 basis points to close at 0.91 percent.
BY CHEA SARAH, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]