South Korean stocks finished at a fresh all-time high Wednesday, as investors scooped up market heavyweights, such as banking stocks, market analysts said. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 2.01 points, or 0.08 percent, to close at 2,492.50.
Trade volume was moderate at 592 million shares worth 5.03 trillion won ($4.46 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 422 to 367.
The local stock market opened higher on overnight gains in Wall Street and extended its gains in the afternoon session on increased foreign buying.
"Global firms are reporting better than expected earnings, which will also help prod foreign investors to increase their exposure to local stocks," said Kim Yong-koo, an analyst at Hana Financial Corp.
Samsung Electronics, the top market cap here, fell 0.26 percent to end at 2,695,000 won, and SK hynix, a major chipmaker, shed 0.12 percent to 81,700 won. Hyundai Motor, the No.1 automaker, declined 1.66 percent to 148,500 won.
State-run utility firm Korea Electric Power Corp. went south 0.62 percent to 40,000 won.
In contrast, KB Financial advanced 2.43 percent to end at 59,100 won, and Hana Financial gained 2.56 percent to finish at 50,000 won.
POSCO, the No.1 steelmaker, surged 2.28 percent to end at 337,000 won, and Samsung Life Insurance, the leading life insurer climbed 4.71 percent to end at a record high of 133,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,127.90 won against the US dollar, down 0.5 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 3.7 basis points to 2.094 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds gained 4.9 basis points to 2.341 percent. (Yonhap)