Kospi closes for the final time in 2020 at a record high 2,873.47
Seoul's main bourse skyrocketed to over 2,870 on Wednesday, the last trading day of the year, led by blue chip gains.
The benchmark Kospi closed at 2,873.47, up 1.88 percent, or 52.96 points, compared to the previous trading day.
The index has been gaining for five consecutive sessions, hitting record highs since Thursday last week when the index first passed the 2,800-mark.
The benchmark index plunged as low as 1,457.64 in March when the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic hit the country, then bounced back to an all-time high of 2,873.47 on the year's last trading day. It is a 97.13-percent jump.
The bullish index ends the year nearer to 2,900 than 2,800, adding confidence to earlier projections by multiple brokerage houses that next year's Kospi could pass 3,000.
While retail investors have been lifting the Kospi over the last few months, they net sold 490.7 billion won ($452 million) of stocks on Wednesday. Foreign investors purchased 249.2 billion won and institutional investors bought 195.6 billion won.
The gain was led largely by blue chips including market bellwether Samsung Electronics.
The electronics giant grew 3.45 percent on Wednesday to close at 81,000 won. It is the first time its closing price has passed 80,000 won.
Samsung Electronics has been growing fast this year on expectations of strong chip exports. Its shares have shot up by 46.73 percent this year.
Among the top 10 listed companies by market capitalization, all grew except for Celltrion.
Chipmaker SK hynix added 2.16 percent to close at 118,500 won, chemical maker LG Chem increased 1.35 percent to close at 824,000 won and pharmaceutical company Samsung Biologics inched up 0.49 percent to 826,000 won.
Internet giant Naver rose 3.36 percent to 292,500 won, battery maker Samsung SDI soared 4.49 percent to 628,000 won and Hyundai Motor grew 0.79 percent to 192,000 won.
Celltrion lost 0.42 percent to 359,000 won.
In total, gainers outnumbered losers by 651 to 191.
The secondary Kosdaq was also bullish, closing at 968.42, up 1.15 percent, or 11.01 points higher than the previous session's close.
Gainers greatly outnumbered losers by 1,036 to 263.
Retail investors bought 123.2 billion won worth of shares in the tech-heavy market, while institutional investors offloaded 35.8 billion won and foreign investors net sold 62.8 billion won.
The local currency closed at 1,086.3 won per dollar, up 5.8 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year bonds increased by 0.7 basis points to 0.979 percent according to a market brief from the Korea Exchange (KRX).
The first trading session of the new year, on Jan. 4, will begin an hour later than usual at 10 a.m. The closing time will be the same, at 3:30 p.m., according to KRX.
BY KIM JEE-HEE [email@example.com]