South Korean shares ended their two-day losing streak Wednesday, helped by a tech rally, amid intensifying woes over the pandemic. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 14.42 points, or 0.62 percent, to close at 2,345.26.
Trading volume was moderate at about 695 million shares worth some 8.8 trillion won ($7.8 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 615 to 237.
Foreigners bought a net 15 billion won, with retail investors purchasing a net 152 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 177 billion won.
"The KOSPI fared choppy with uncertainties from the COVID-19 flare-up and the US presidential election," KB Securities analyst Lee Yong-joon said.
The KOSPI came to a muted start over concerns that the worsening pandemic may deliver heavy damage to the global economy.
US COVID-19 hospitalization soared in the past week, with parts of Europe pushing or having adopted stricter quarantine measures. New cases in South Korea have also been on a steady rise, swerving between two- and three-digit figures.
In Seoul, most large caps closed higher.
Internet portal giant Naver spiked 5.29 percent to 298,500 won, with its rival Kakao jumping 3.74 percent to 346,500 won.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 1.34 percent to 59,000 won, but No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gained 0.36 percent to 82,900 won.
Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics added 0.31 percent to 637,000 won, and Celltrion advanced 1.46 percent to 242,500 won.
Leading chemical maker LG Chem rose 1.58 percent to 642,000 won, and Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, gained 0.58 percent to 173,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,130.6 won per dollar, down 5.1 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)