Kospi hits all-time high of 2,820.51
Korean stocks finished at an all-time high on Tuesday, the annual ex-dividend day that is usually marked by choppy trading. The won rose against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi rose 11.91 points, or 0.42 percent, to close at 2,820.51.
Trading volume was particularly high at about 1 billion shares worth some 19.1 trillion won ($17.5 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 537 to 334.
The stock index got a boost from massive 2.2-trillion-won net buying by individuals, the largest daily purchase since Nov. 30. Foreigners sold a net 314 billion won, and institutions offloaded a net 2 trillion won.
"High-dividend shares, such as financials and telecommunications, seem to have traded weak in today's ex-dividend session," Hana Financial Investment analyst Lee Young-gon said.
In contrast, pharmaceutical shares soared, largely due to growing pandemic concerns.
In ex-dividend sessions, investors become eligible for year-end dividends even after offloading shares.
Investors were obliged to hold on to their shares until the previous session for year-end dividends. The final trading session of 2020 is Wednesday.
Samsung Electronics lost 0.51 percent to 78,300 won, while chipmaker SK hynix gained 0.43 percent to 116,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics jumped 4.18 percent to 822,000 won. Celltrion spiked 10.08 percent to 360,500 won, after the drug safety agency said it launched a review of the drugmaker's coronavirus treatment.
Internet portal giant Naver rose 0.71 percent to 283,000 won, with its rival Kakao climbing 3.08 percent to 384,500 won.
Chemical maker LG Chem slipped 0.12 percent to 813,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI surged 7.51 percent to 601,000 won.
Hyundai Motor moved up 0.53 percent to 190,500 won.
The Kosdaq rose 30.41 points, or 3.28 percent, to close at 957.41.
The local currency closed at 1,092.1 won per dollar, down 4.6 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The return on the three-year bond lost 1.3 basis points to close at 0.972 percent, and the return on the 10-year bond fell 0.67 basis points to close at 0.92 percent.
BY LEE JEE-YOUNG, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]