Stocks rise 0.71 percent after two days of losses
Stocks snapped a two-session losing streak Wednesday as investors scooped up bigcaps that recently suffered heavy losses. The won rose against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi rose 22.34 points, or 0.71 percent, to 3,148.29.
Trading volume was high at about 1.56 billion shares worth around 24 trillion won ($21.9 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 626 to 225.
Retail investors purchased a net 170 billion won, while foreigners picked up a net 190.5 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 374.5 billion won.
The main index traded choppy early in the session before recovering on retail and foreign buying.
Investor sentiment also improved on hopes of more U.S. stimulus from the incoming Biden administration.
Analysts still remained cautious of an overheated Kospi.
"Stocks currently face accumulated valuation pressure," IBK Investment & Securities analyst Ahn So-eun said. "Investors recently appear to be taking a breather after a spike at the end of last year and the start of this year."
The Kospi has been on a run since November last year, setting record highs until last week.
Most large caps in Seoul ended mixed.
Samsung Electronics retreated 0.99 percent to 89,700 won, while chipmaker SK hynix rose 3.10 percent to 133,000 won.
Chemical firm LG Chem jumped 3.95 percent to 1,000,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI gained 1.21 percent to 754,000 won.
The country's largest automaker Hyundai Motor declined 0.77 percent to 259,000 won, while Kia Motors rose 2.85 percent to 72,200 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics rose 1.47 percent to 830,000 won, while Celltrion declined 0.65 percent to 381,500 won.
Internet portal operator Naver added 3.29 percent to 314,000 won, while rival Kakao slipped 0.66 percent to 454,500 won.
The Kosdaq gained 5.41 points, or 0.56 percent, to close at 979.13.
The local currency closed at 1,095.1 won against the dollar, down 4.8 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The return on the three-year bond added 0.3 basis points to close at 0.979 percent, and the return on the 10-year bond lost 1.1 basis points to close at 1.13 percent.
BY CHEA SARAH, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]