Stock market in South Korea (Yonhap)
South Korean stocks advanced for the second consecutive session Friday, largely as optimism for strong earnings and dovish signals from the European Central Bank (ECB) offset concerns over the extended virus curbs in greater Seoul. The Korean won strengthened against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) rose 4.21 points, or 0.13 percent, to close at 3,254.42 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 761 million shares worth some 12.7 trillion won ($11 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 457 to 350. Retail investors offloaded a net 89 billion won.
The fourth wave of the new coronavirus weakened investor sentiment, while strong earnings provided some relief.
Earlier in the morning, the government extended the toughest virus restrictions in the greater Seoul area for another two weeks, citing the recent surge in virus infections.
Dovish signals from the ECB also helped ease concerns about the fast-growing price pressure in the global financial markets.
The European Central Bank said it would keep its accommodative policies, including its ultra-low interest rates, until inflation "durably" exceeds its 2 percent inflation target.
"The Kospi advanced with investors' eyes on the corporate earnings reports of major companies and the ECB's reiteration of its expansive monetary policies," the Shinhan Investment Corp. research team stated.
Market kingpin Samsung Electronics lost 0.5 percent to 79,300 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix shed 0.84 percent to 118,500 won.
Internet portal giant Naver jumped 2.73 percent to 452,000 won, while leading carmaker Hyundai Motor declined 1.31 percent to 225,500 won.
Giant chemical maker LG Chem added 0.24 percent to 828,000 won, and top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics gained 1.02 percent to 893,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,150.8 won to the US dollar, up 0.9 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)