Mon, 18 Jan 2021

SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- South Korean stocks hit all-time closing highs for two straight days Wednesday as foreign investors bought local stocks, especially tech shares amid expectations for positive earnings.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) soared 41.65 points, or 1.58 percent, to settle at 2,675.90. Trading volume stood at 1.06 billion shares worth 16.9 trillion won (15.4 billion U.S. dollars).

The KOSPI started 0.44 percent higher and extended earlier gains throughout the session as foreigners purchased a net 515.3 billion won (468.2 million U.S. dollars) worth of domestic stocks.

About half of the foreign purchase flowed into tech shares on expectations for positive earnings among chipmakers.

Memory chip giant SK hynix jumped 8.5 percent, and market bellwether Samsung Electronics advanced 2.5 percent.

Large-cap shares ended mixed. Leading chemical firm LG Chem picked up 3.8 percent, and the biggest steelmaker POSCO climbed 1.8 percent. Kakao Corp., the operator of the most popular mobile messenger Kakao Talk, declined 0.4 percent, and the most-used search engine Naver slipped 0.7 percent.

Market watchers said hope increased for global economic recovery next year thanks to news report on the promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

The South Korean currency's appreciation to the dollar also encouraged offshore investors to buy domestic stocks.

The local currency finished at 1,100.8 won versus the greenback, up 5.4 won from the previous close. It marked the highest close in about two and a half years.

The small-cap KOSDAQ added 8.05 points, or 0.90 percent, to close at 899.34.

Bond prices ended mixed. Yields on the liquid three-year treasury notes was unchanged at 0.982 percent, and the return on the 10-year government bonds rose 2.6 basis points to 1.675 percent.

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