Seoul stocks continue climb as Omicron fears ease
Stocks closed up for a second straight session Wednesday, led by chipmaker gains and easing fear about the Omicron variant. The won rose against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi added 9.45 points, or 0.32 percent, to close at 2,984.48 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 453 million shares worth some 8.6 trillion won ($7.2 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 486 to 357.
Foreigners bought a net 311 billion won and institutions purchased 176 billion won, while retail investors offloaded 502 billion won.
The market got off to a robust start, tracking overnight rallies on Wall Street amid easing fears about the impact of the omicron variant on the global economy.
The Kospi, however, pared part of its advances later in the day as retail investors dumped local stocks to lock in gains.
Overnight, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite jumped 2.4 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 1.6 percent, largely on optimism that the symptoms of the Omicron strain are not as severe.
"Investors seem optimistic about the chip performance [down the road] but not as much about the other sectors," said Eugene Investment & Securities analyst Huh Jae-hwan.
Samsung Electronics gained 1.66 percent to 79,400 won, and chipmaker SK hynix jumped 2.01 percent to 127,000 won.
Internet portal operator Naver went up 0.93 percent to 378,500 won, and Kakao remained unchanged at 114,500 won.
Carmaker Hyundai Motor climbed 0.73 percent to 206,500 won, and LG Chem fell 2.65 percent to 625,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics shed 3.01 percent to 901,000 won, with Celltrion decreasing 2.2 percent to 200,500 won.
Battery maker SK Innovation lost 1.39 percent to 212,500 won.
The Kosdaq rose 3.53 points, or 0.35 percent, to close at 1,000.13.
The local currency traded at 1,192 won against the dollar, down 0.9 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year government bonds added 4 basis points to 1.759 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond gained 3.3 basis points to 1.45 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]