Published : 2013-08-29 15:46
Updated : 2013-08-29 15:46
South Korean stocks closed 1.22 percent higher Thursday, fueled by strong foreign buying in a sign of receding market jitters over geopolitical tension in Syria, analysts said. The Korean won gathered ground against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) advanced 23.02 points to finish at 1,907.54. Trading volume was light at 296.2 million shares worth 4.72 trillion won (US$4.24 billion) with gainers outnumbering decliners 559 to 246.
Analysts cited growing perception among investors that Korea is a relatively safer spot to make bets amidst uncertainties in Asian emerging markets, which they said work as a buffer against Syrian risks.
"A possible U.S. military strike on Syria will likely be carried out on a local level, thereby limiting its impact. If you look back at the past disputes in the Gulf, a physical attack rather led to the easing of financial risks," said Han Beom-ho, an analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp.
Foreigners scooped up a net 457.8 billion won worth of local stocks, the largest amount since June 28, extending the buying spree for five straight days.
Financial companies finished bullish. Top insurer Samsung Life Insurance soared 2.93 percent to 105,500 won, with No. 2 banking firm KB Financial Group rising 2.49 percent to 35,000 won.
Samsung Electronics jumped 2.67 percent to 1,344,000 won, while Hyundai Motor fell 0.42 percent to 239,500 won.
Naver Corp., the country's top Internet portal operator formally known as NHN, hiked 4.35 percent to 480,000 won on its first trading after the company separated itself from its gaming business.
The local currency ended at 1,109.70 won against the greenback, up 5.7 won from Wednesday's close, on the back of foreign buying, dealers said. (Yonhap news)