South Korean stocks made solid gains Thursday as investors picked up big-cap tech shares on hopes for a recovery in a semiconductor industry cycle.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 22.64 points, or 1.02 percent, to end at 2,237.86, extending its winning streak to a third consecutive session.
Trading volume was moderate at 631.62 million shares worth 6.67 trillion won ($4.75 billion), with gainers outpacing losers 776 to 118.
Foreigners bought shares worth 252.05 billion won, while retail and institutional investors sold a net 185.25 billion won and 74.93 billion won worth of shares, respectively.
The Seoul market opened higher and maintained the upward momentum throughout the session despite overnight losses on Wall Street amid lingering concerns over aggressive monetary tightening in major economies and a global economic recession.
"Investors paid keen attention to the positive outlook on the chip market by Morgan Stanley," Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co., said.
Earlier, Morgan Stanley anticipated a recovery in the semiconductor cycle in the second half of next year and recommended "moving overweight" for quality stocks.
It also forecast that South Korean and other emerging markets are bottoming after a long stretch of losses.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.54 percent to 56,300 won, and chip giant SK hynix inched up 0.11 percent to 89,900 won.
Battery maker LG Energy Solutions jumped 1.92 percent to 478,000 won, and Samsung SDI surged 2.81 percent to 585,000 won. Major chemical firm LG Chem soared 4.11 percent to 583,000 won.
Carmakers also gathered ground. Top automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 0.56 percent to 178,000 won and its affiliate Kia went up 0.56 percent to 71,500 won.
Internet giant Naver advanced 1.83 percent to 167,000 won following deep losses for the two previous sessions, after some investors questioned the timing and profitability of its recent 2.3 trillion-won deal to buy Poshmark Inc., a US second-hand fashion platform.
Major bio shares were mixed, with Samsung Biologics increasing 0.62 percent to 812,000 won and Celltrion skidding 0.87 percent to 170,000 won.
The local currency ended at 1,402.4 won against the US dollar, up 7.7 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)