South Korean stocks closed slightly higher Wednesday ending a six-day losing streak, although the rise was limited due to heightened geopolitical tension surrounding the Korean Peninsula, analysts said.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index inched up 5.06 points, or 0.24 percent, to close at 2,128.91. Trade volume was moderate at 405.1 million shares worth 3.8 trillion won ($3.32 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 399 to 395.
Analysts said the increase came as investors became less sensitive to market rumors that Washington will strike North Korea this month.
The market advance, however, was limited on concerns that Pyongyang's potential nuclear test may send the Northeast Asian region into further turmoil.
"Investors are seeking after safer assets on the risks surrounding the Syria and North Korean issues," said Kim Yong-koo, a researcher at Hana Investment & Securities. The researcher said, however, as such factors are not linked to the fundamental conditions, the main index is anticipated to stay above 2,100-mark down the road.
Foreigners bought a net 62.3 billion won and individual investors scooped up a net 25.9 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 94 billion won.
Steelmakers were among the winners, with No. 1 POSCO rising 0.55 percent to 273,000 won and Korea Zinc climbing 1.22 percent to 414,500 won. Hyundai Steel moved up 0.89 percent to 56,700 won.
Tech shares closed mixed, with top market cap Samsung Electronics rising 0.72 percent to 2,095,000 won, while LG Electronics moved down 0.58 percent.
Mobile carriers lost ground as South Korea's presidential hopefuls vowed to cut service subscription costs. Industry leader SK Telecom moved down 0.82 percent at 243,000 won, with No. 2 player KT also losing 1.42 percent to 31,150 won. LG Uplus shed 1.76 percent at 13,950 won.
Foodstuff makers also closed bearish, with CJ Cheiljedang falling 1.18 percent to 335,000 won and Lotte Confectionery decreasing 1.31 percent to 189,000 won. Orison remained unchanged at 644,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,141.40 won against the US dollar, up 4.4 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 0.7 basis point to 1.686 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond shed 0.2 basis point to 1.885 percent.(Yonhap)