South Korean stocks finished higher Wednesday, led by advances in large cap tech shares, analysts said. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 6.96 points, or 0.27 percent, to close at 2,552.4. Trade volume was moderate at 273 million shares worth 5.6 trillion won ($5 billion) with gainers outnumbering losers 409 to 374.
The local stock market opened lower due to declines in financial and chemical shares, but the index turned higher following gains in tech shares.
"Samsung Electronics drove the index higher, though a heavy selling spree by institutional investors kept the figure from rising further," said Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities.
Institutional and foreign investors sold a net 106 billion won and 2.8 billion won worth of local stocks, respectively, while individuals scooped up a net 62 billion won.
Most large caps traded mixed, with market kingpin Samsung Electronics climbing 1.18 percent to end at 2,838,000 won.
SK hynix, a major chipmaker, added 0.97 percent to 83,200 won.
Cosmetics shares advanced amid signs of a thaw in Seoul-Beijing relations and a potential inflow of Chinese tourists, with top player AmorePacific edging up 1.72 percent to 325,500 won. No.2 cosmetics maker LG Household & Health Care also jumped 3.32 percent to 1,246,000 won.
Auto shares closed bearish, with No. 1 automaker Hyundai Motor remaining unchanged at 155,000 won. Its smaller affiliate Kia Motors edged down 0.72 percent to 34,500 won and its auto parts subsidiary Hyundai Mobis declined 0.38 percent to 265,000 won.
Naver, the country's top Internet portal operator, moved down 1.28 percent to 849,000 won, and leading steelmaker POSCO also plunged 2.31 percent to 316,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,115.60 won against the US dollar, down 3.7 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys moved up 1.8 basis points to 2.151 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds rose 0.5 basis point to 2.362 percent. (Yonhap)