South Korean stocks closed higher on robust gains of blue chip shares, including market behemoth Samsung Electronics, analysts said Tuesday, posting the second-highest closing figure. The Korean won gained against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index gained 14.23 points, or 0.65 percent, to close at 2,219.67. Trade volume was low at 290 million shares worth 4.72 trillion won ($4.17 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 429 to 363.
The latest figure marks the second-highest closing number ever posted by the main bourse.
Analysts said the Kospi gained ground on the back of blue chip gains, as well as buying by foreigners.
"The overall atmosphere is optimistic on earnings reports, and various risks in the financial market have been lifted," said Kim Sung-hwan, an analyst at Bookook Securities Co., adding the market is likely to set a new record in the near future.
The bourse reached its peak at 2,231.47 during the trading session of April 27. In terms of closing price, the record was set at 2,228.96 on May 2, 2011.
Foreign investors scooped up a net 131.9 billion won worth of local stocks, while institutions offloaded a net 45.1 billion won.
Individuals sold a net 130 billion won.
Tech shares closed higher, with Samsung Electronics moving up 0.63 percent to 2,245,000 won. No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix also advanced 2.59 percent to reach 55,400 won.
Carmakers were also winners, with Hyundai Motor increasing 4.86 percent to 151,000 won and its auto parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis climbing 3.6 percent to 230,000 won. Kia Motors moved up 0.72 percent to 35,100 won.
Shinhan Financial closed 1.26 percent higher at 48,150 won, and Samsung Life Insurance also climbed 0.91 percent to 110,500 won.
Top mobile carrier SK Telecom increased 0.21 percent to 240,000 won, while No. 3 player LG Uplus shed 3.11 percent to 14,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,130.50 won against the US dollar, up 7.40 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 1.5 basis point to 1.690 percent, while the return on the benchmark five-year government bond gained 2.9 basis point at 1.894 percent. (Yonhap)