Renewed hopes for economic recovery boost Seoul stocks
Stocks finished higher to extend their gains to a fifth session Thursday amid expectations that economic recovery will be quicker and stronger than expected. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi rose 11.95 points, or 0.38 percent, to close at 3,194.33.
Trading volume was moderate at about 1.3 billion shares worth some 17.4 trillion won ($15.6 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 468 to 375.
Foreign investors bought a net 266 billion won, while institutions sold 582 billion won. Institutions purchased a net 279 billion won.
Stocks got off to a muted start, as the country may adopt stronger social distancing measures if daily COVID-19 cases remain high throughout the rest of the week.
The key stock index increasingly gained ground as foreigners extended their buying streak to a third day.
Concerns over fast post-pandemic inflation decreased, and the central bank froze the key interest rate at a record low of 0.5 percent, saying the economic recovery has been patchy due to the resurgence of the coronavirus.
"Dovish signals from the central banks in Korea and the United States helped the Kospi's hike," KB Securities analyst Ha In-hwan said.
Bank of Korea chief Lee Ju-yeol said Asia's fourth-largest economy is expected to grow at a faster-than-expected clip this year.
Samsung Electronics edged up 0.12 percent to 84,100 won, and chipmaker SK hynix advanced 0.36 percent to 137,500 won.
Internet portal giant Naver slipped 0.13 percent to 391,000 won.
Carmaker Hyundai Motor declined 0.86 percent to 230,500 won, and its sister company Kia lost 0.93 percent to 85,200 won.
Chemical maker LG Chem shed 0.67 percent to 891,000 won, and SK innovation remained unchanged at 276,500 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics added 2.03 percent to 806,000 won, while Celltrion lost 1.75 percent to 309,500 won.
Online game maker NC Soft added 0.44 percent to 920,000 won.
The Kosdaq lost 0.52 points, or 0.05 percent to close at 1,013.90.
The local currency closed at 1,117.6 won to the dollar, up 1 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year bonds added 4.7 basis points to 1.149 percent, and the return on the benchmark ten-year government bond rose 1.1 basis points to 1.63 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]