South Korean stocks closed higher Wednesday, led by retail investors buying into the market, as tension between the United States and North Korea shows signs of easing. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 14.04 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 2,348.26. Trade volume was moderate at 265 million shares worth 6.08 trillion won ($5.32 billion).
The local stock market opened higher on positive economic data from the US and an easing of tension between Washington and Pyongyang.
"The local stock market is expected to gain in coming sessions as US retail sales improved and North Korea-US tension shows signs of receding," said Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities Co.
Top cap Samsung Electronics rose 2.67 percent to end at 2,310,000 won, and SK hynix, a global chipmaker, gained 1.54 percent to 66,100 won.
Naver, the operator of the country's top Internet portal, advanced 1.03 percent to 787,000 won.
Industry leader Hyundai Motor was flat at 144,500 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors dipped 0.7 percent to 35,450 won.
The local currency closed at 1,141.50 won against the US dollar, down 1.8 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys gained 1.9 basis points to 1.821 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds added 2.6 basis points to 2.028 percent. (Yonhap)