South Korean stocks advanced for the fifth consecutive session Friday as investors speculated that a second consecutive quarterly contraction in the US economy may prod the US Federal Reserve to take rate hikes that are less aggressive than previously expected. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 16.23 points, or 0.67 percent, from the previous session to close at 2,451.5 points. The figure is up 2.44 percent from a week ago.
Trading volume was moderate at about 488 million shares worth some 10.1 trillion won ($7.8 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 655 to 203.
Institutions bought a net 147 billion won, and foreigners purchased 339 billion won, while retail investors offloaded 494 billion won.
Stocks got off to a solid start after the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 1.03 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.08 percent.
Investors believe the US Fed may not take sharp rate hikes to fight rising inflation, given the economic recession.
The US central bank on Thursday also hinted at a possible slowdown in policy tightening, following an aggressive 0.75 percentage-point hike in the benchmark interest rate.
"The US economy contracted in the second quarter, but the financial market interpreted it as a sign that the Fed may soften its monetary tightening. US advances by (heavyweights like) Apple and Amazon also affected the KOSPI's gains," Mirae Asset Securities analyst Park Gwang-nam said.
Most large caps closed higher in Seoul.
Internet portal operator Naver jumped 4.84 percent to 259,000 won, with the top mobile messenger's operator Kakao advancing 3.31 percent to 74,800 won.
The KOSPI's top cap, Samsung Electronics, shed 0.81 percent to 61,400 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix lost 1.51 percent to 97,900 won.
Bio heavyweight Samsung Biologics grew 0.23 percent to 865,000 won, and financial heavyweight KB Financial Group increased 1.68 percent to 48,450 won. Battery giant LG Energy Solution increased 1.56 percent to 422,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,299.1 won against the US dollar, down 3 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)