Stocks rally for a second day as foreigners return in force
Stocks rallied for a second straight session Thursday on strong foreign buying. The won rose against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi increased 45.55 points, or 1.57 percent, to close at 2,945.27 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 523 million shares worth some 11.8 trillion won ($10 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 756 to 139.
Foreigners bought a net 890 billion won, while retail investors sold 913 billion won and institutions offloaded 5 billion won.
Volatility was high in the early morning, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street that stemmed from worries about global outbreaks of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 1.34 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite declined 1.83 percent, as the first case of the omicron variant in the United States worsened investor sentiment in the global financial markets.
The key stock index gained ground since the late morning, as foreign investors scooped up local stocks on anticipation of potential stock price hikes.
"Foreign investors have been purchasing semiconductor-related stocks since yesterday," Meritz Securities analyst Lee Jin-woo said.
Strong advances by chipmakers and automakers led the Kospi's gain, while financial heavyweights retreated.
Samsung Electronics increased 1.88 percent to 75,800 won, and chipmaker SK hynix jumped 3 percent to 120,000 won.
Internet portal operator Naver moved up 2.18 percent to 398,500 won, and Kakao closed unchanged at 122,500 won.
Carmaker Hyundai Motor climbed 2.24 percent to 205,500 won, and its sister company Kia rose 0.49 percent to 81,600 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics edged up 0.11 percent to 892,000 won, while Kakao Bank decreased 0.31 percent to 65,000 won. Kakao Pay edged up 0.24 percent to 208,000 won.
The Kosdaq gained 0.28 points, or 0.03 percent, to close at 977,43.
The local currency closed at 1,175.9 won against the dollar, down 3.3 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year government bonds gained 2.3 basis points to 1.835 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bond lost 4.2 basis points to 1.4 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [email@example.com]