Stocks rise on U.S. gains and Santa Claus Rally
Shares closed higher on Tuesday as foreign and institutional investors scooped up market heavyweights following overnight U.S. gains. The local currency fell against the dollar.
After a choppy session, the benchmark Kospi rose 20.69 points, or 0.69 percent, to 3,020.24 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 593 million shares worth some 11.9 trillion won ($10.1 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 524 to 333.
Individuals sold a net 1.97 trillion won worth of stocks while institutions and foreigners purchased a net 1.52 trillion won and 443 billion won, respectively.
The Kospi opened mildly higher, tracking the overnight Wall Street rally that drove up the S&P 500 to a record high for a second consecutive session on the back of a so-called "Santa Claus Rally" to end the year.
The index then traded slightly lower on apparent profit-taking but soon pared earlier losses in the afternoon session.
"Stocks related to transfer taxes of major shareholders poured into the market but institutional buying expanded in time for the dividend record date" Kim Seok-hwan, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities, said, adding that the overnight U.S. market rally also helped.
Most large-cap stocks traded higher across the board.
Samsung Electronics inched up 0.12 percent to 80,300 won, and chipmaker SK hynix went up 1.19 percent to 127,500 won.
Carmaker Hyundai Motor gained 0.23 percent to 214,000 won, while Kia went down 0.35 percent to 84,500 won
Internet portal operator Naver gained percent 1.05 percent to 384,500 won, and Kakao rose 0.44 percent to 113,500 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics went up 0.56 percent to 891,000 won, and Celltrion jumped 5.88 percent to 216,000 won.
Payment service provider Kakao Pay surged 7.72 percent to 181,500 won.
The Kosdaq gained 16.08 points, or 1.59 percent, to close at 1,027.44.
The local currency closed at 1,188 won against the dollar, up 1.2 won from the previous session's loss.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year government bonds added 1 basis point to 1,786 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond lost 1.6 basis points to 1.47 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [email@example.com]