Kospi closes at record high of 2,778.65
Stocks closed at a record high Monday as pharmaceutical heavyweights posted strong gains amid the surge in new coronavirus cases. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi rose 6.47 points, or 0.23 percent, to close at 2,778.65.
Trading volume was high at about 1.1 billion shares worth some 18.7 trillion won ($17 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 428 to 415.
Foreigners sold a net 7 billion won, while institutions purchased a net 132 billion won. Retail investors offloaded a net 88 billion won.
"Morning trading got off to a weak start as positive news from a U.S. stimulus agreement was offset by Covid-19 lockdown concerns," KB Securities analyst Ha In-hwan said.
"But increasing bio gains seem to have pushed up the stock indices [in the afternoon]," he added.
Chip and auto heavyweights, the driving force behind the Kospi's rally last week, fared poorly due to investors' profit-taking, while steel and telecommunications services advanced.
Samsung Electronics finished unchanged at 73,000 won, and chipmaker SK hynix shed 2.11 percent to 116,000 won.
Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, fell 1.06 percent to 187,000 won, while steelmaker Posco advanced 2.04 percent to 274,500 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics gained 2.62 percent to 823,000 won, and Celltrion jumped 3.09 percent to 367,000 won.
Internet portal giant Naver rose 0.53 percent to 284,000 won, with its rival Kakao adding 3.41 percent to 379,500 won.
Online game maker NCSoft added 0.12 percent to 864,000 won, while rival Netmarble dropped 0.8 percent to 124,500 won.
Chemical maker LG Chem edged up 0.12 percent to 815,000 won, but rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI moved down 0.35 percent to 566,000 won.
Cosmetics giant Amorepacific lost 0.72 percent to 207,000 won, and Korean Air moved down 1.11 percent to 26,700 won. Asiana Airlines declined 1.13 percent to close at 4,390 won.
The Kosdaq rose 6.34 points, or 0.67 percent, to close at 953.58.
The local currency closed at 1,102.7 won per dollar, up 3.0 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 close at 0.96 percent, and the return on the 10-year bond added 0.9 basis points to close at 0.94 percent.
BY CHEA SARAH, YONHAP [email@example.com]