South Korean stocks inched up 0.14 percent on Monday on hopes of Europe’s stimulus measures, with investors taking a wait-and-see stance against unrest in Iraq, analysts said. The South Korean won fell sharply against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index climbed 2.74 points to 1,993.59. The trading volume was moderate at 227.9 million shares worth 1.19 trillion won ($1.17 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 440 to 368.
The KOSPI started a tad lower, following a sharp decrease in the previous session when it lost more than 1 percent, dragged down by massive foreign selling stemming from woes over Iraq.
“The tension in the Middle East makes investors worry about the crude oil prices, which is very important for the South Korean economy,” said researcher Lim Dong-rak of Hanyang Securities Co.
“After the weekend, however, investors would see that the tension will not affect the oil price in the short term. They will wait and see for a while to check the practical impact of the Iraqi crisis.”
The analyst also noted that the European Central Bank’s recent decision to stimulate the sluggish euro zone economy helped the South Korean market offset earlier losses and finish in the black.
“The ECB‘s move encouraged offshore investors to bet on risky assets here. The foreign buying backed the index,” said Lim.
Foreigners scooped up a net 17.5 billion won worth of local shares after snapping their 21st-consecutive buying streak on Friday.
Large-cap exporters led the decline, with home appliances maker LG Electronics losing 1.03 percent to 76,900 won and flat screen provider LG Display decreasing 1.02 percent to 29,250 won.
Air carriers were among the biggest losers, with flagship Korean Air sliding 2.19 percent to 33,450 won and Asiana Airlines dipping 1.67 percent to 4,700 won.
Carmakers finished mixed, with industry leader Hyundai Motor adding 0.45 percent to 225,000 won and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors skidding 0.35 percent to 56,200 won.
The South Korean won ended at 1,020.1 won per the U.S. dollar, down 2.3 won from Friday’s close. (Yonhap)