Kospi hits 3,258, busting record for second straight day
Stocks hit a record for the second straight day Tuesday, propelled by investors' optimism over the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting this week. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi rose 6.5 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 3,258.63 points, a new record.
Trading volume was moderate at about 1.7 billion shares worth some 14.5 trillion won ($13 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 443 to 399.
Foreigners sold a net 157 billion won worth of stocks, while retail investors bought 199 billion won worth. Institutions offloaded a net 43 billion won worth of stocks.
The Kospi started off with mild gains, tracking record advances on the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 overnight.
Stocks traded in a tight range as investors waited for more clues about when the world's largest economy will start tapering its asset-buying policy. The Federal Open Market Committee rate decision comes Wednesday.
Increased valuation pressure prevented further gains, fueling investors' moves to lock in profits after the key stock index finished at an all-time high .
Stocks rebounded to positive terrain in the afternoon, largely on advances by tech and chemical shares.
"The 10-year U.S. Treasury yields fell back to the 1.5 percent range, and large growth shares rebounded," HI Investment & Securities analyst Park Sang-hyun said.
"It is unlikely that the Fed will pull a hawkish card in the FOMC meeting," he said.
In Seoul, Samsung Electronics gained 0.5 percent to reach 80,900 won, and chipmaker SK hynix advanced 1.18 percent to 128,500 won.
Internet portal operator Naver closed unchanged at 387,000 won, and its rival Kakao moved up 1.4 percent to 144,500 won. Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics decreased 1.29 percent to 842,000 won.
Automaker Hyundai Motor declined 0.42 percent to 237,000 won, and chemical firm LG Chem shed 0.85 percent to 820,000 won.
The Kosdaq lost 0.04 points, or 0.00 percent, to close at 997.37.
The local currency closed at 1,117 won against the dollar, up 0.3 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year government bonds gained 2.0 basis points to 1.307 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond added 4.6 basis points to 1.50 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]