Stocks up on trade optimism, foreign buying
The benchmark Kospi rose 8.80 points, or 0.42 percent, to end the session at 2,108.22. The main bourse ended above the 2,100 level for the first time since Nov. 19.
Trading volume was moderate at 274.54 million shares worth 4.59 trillion won ($3.9 billion).
“The stock market rose ahead of expectations of the U.S.-China trade dispute easing,” said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. “A rise in Chinese stocks centered around financial and telecommunication shares also added to the rise.”
Foreign investors bought a net 93.2 billion won worth of shares, centered largely on tech shares. Institutional investors picked up a net 28.1 billion won. Individuals sold a net 154.2 billion won worth of stocks.
Tech shares gave a boost to the main index, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics edging up 0.23 percent to 43,150 won and No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix advancing 1.55 percent to 71,900 won. LG Electronics also rose, adding 0.84 percent to 72,400 won.
Telecommunications shares rose, with industry leader SK Telecom adding 1.97 percent to 284,000 won. KT advanced 2.02 percent to 30,300 won. LG telecommunications unit LG U+ jumped 6.02 percent to 17,600 won.
Other large-cap stocks were mixed across the board.
Celltrion declined 0.84 percent to 236,000 won. Hyundai Motor closed unchanged at 101,000 won, while sister company Kia Motors rose 1.36 percent to 29,850 won.
Industry leader LG Chem added 1.17 percent to 347,000 won, while Lotte Chemical dropped 3.83 percent to 276,000 won. Posco fell 1.43 percent to 240,500 won.
The Kosdaq edged down 0.55 points, or 0.08 percent. The tech and bio-heavy index was weighed down by a 0.35 percent decline in the U.S. Nasdaq Biotechnology Index overnight, and institutions and foreign investors selling pharmaceutical-related shares.
The junior bourse fell after two consecutive sessions of gains.
The Korean won closed at 1,126.50 won against the greenback, down 2.90 won from the previous session’s close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year bonds rose 1.2 basis points to 1.92 percent, and the return on 10-year bonds added 0.5 basis points to 2.16 percent.
BY CHAE YUN-HWAN, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]