Electronic signboards at the trading room of Hana Bank in Seoul show the benchmark Kospi closed at 2,602.59 on Monday, up 49.09 points or 1.92 percent from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)
South Korean stocks rose for a fourth consecutive day to near an all-time high Monday on massive foreign buying, backed by hopes for a quick economic recovery, shrugging off concerns over a resurgence of the new coronavirus.
The Korean won rose against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 49.09 points, or 1.92 percent, to close at 2,602.59 points, after reaching as high as 2,605.58 points at one point.
Monday's closing price is just shy of the index's all-time high of 2,607.10 points recorded on Jan. 29, 2018.
Trading volume was high at about 1.6 billion shares worth around 15.5 trillion won ($14 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 536 to 305.
Foreigners led the gain by raking in a net 983 billion won, extending their buying spree to a 13th session, while retail investors sold a net 543 billion won.
Investor sentiment was boosted by improving export data and hopes for vaccines.
South Korea's exports jumped 11.1 percent on-year in the first 20 days of November, with outbound shipments of memory chips soaring 21.9 percent over the cited period.
"Investors are expecting that Biden's inauguration will expand international trade, and export-intensive economies like Korea and China will benefit much from increased trade," said Oh Tae-dong, a senior researcher at NH Investment & Securities.
But a further bull run on the local stock market may be curbed on concerns over the flare-up of the new coronavirus.
South Korean authorities decided to raise the social distancing scheme to Level 2 over the weekend, which will go into effect Tuesday, as the country's new daily infections have stayed over 300 for six consecutive days.
Market heavyweights such as chipmakers, battery makers and bio firms led the overall market advance.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics surged 4.33 percent to a record high of 67,500 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix jumped 3.31 percent to 100,000 won. Major bio firm Celltrion climbed 1.52 percent to 301,000 won.
Leading chemical firm LG Chem gained 3.31 percent to 748,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI rose 2.14 percent to 526,000 won.
Hyundai Motor, the country's largest carmaker, advanced 1.13 percent to 179,000 won.
Internet portal giant Naver edged up 0.18 percent to 281,500 won, and its rival Kakao added 0.41 percent to 367,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,110.4 won against the US dollar, up 3.9 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.8 basis point to 0.955 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 1.7 basis points to 1.282 percent. (Yonhap)