South Korean stocks ended higher on Monday on hopes for an economic recovery in China, while the South Korean currency closed higher against the U.S. greenback.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index moved up 10.61 points, or 0.55 percent, to 1,945.55. Trading volume was low at 225 million shares worth 3.26 trillion won ($3.02 billion), with gainers outpacing losers 426 to 380.
Analysts said Seoul shares were buoyed by rising hope over an economic recovery in China following the country’s weaker-than-expected manufacturers’ index for March.
“While China posted a weak Purchasing Managers Index estimate for March, investors remained hopeful as the world’s No. 2 economy may accordingly roll out economic stimulus actions,” said Kang Hyun-gie, an analyst at I’M Investment & Securities Co.
British bank HSBC said the PMI for China’s manufacturing sector is expected to reach 48.1 this month, hovering above the earlier estimate of 48.7.
The PMI is an index that measures the health of a country’s manufacturing sector. A reading of 50 or above represents an expansion of the sector from the previous month, while a reading below the figure represents a contraction.
Lee Kyung-min, a researcher at Daishin Securities Co., added the KOSPI is anticipated to hover above the 1,950 mark later this week, as other economic indicators slated to be announced at home and abroad are expected to remain healthy, adding the market managed to shrug off geopolitical uncertainties coming out of Ukraine.
Foreigners bought a net 40.3 billion won, while individual investors offloaded a net 112.8 billion won. Institutions bought more shares than they sold at 59.2 billion won.
Shipbuilders also traded higher, with Hyundai Heavy Industries adding 1.98 percent to 206,000 won and Samsung Heavy Industries rising 2.68 percent to 30,600 won. Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering moved up 4.61 percent to 31,750 won.
Mobile carriers closed mixed, with leading SK Telecom rising 1.91 percent to 213,000 won while its smaller rival KT shed 0.51 percent to 29,000 won. LG Uplus, the smallest player, advanced 0.7 percent.
Tech shares also traded mixed, with market behemoth Samsung Electronics closing unchanged at 1,273,000 won and chipmaker SK hynix losing 1.42 percent to 38,150 won. LG Electronics added 0.47 percent to 63,500 won.
The local currency ended at 1,077.80 won to the U.S. dollar, up 2.5 won from Friday’s close.