Shares edge 0.36 % up on eurozone optimism
Korean stocks inched up 0.36 percent on Monday as investors were optimistic about Europe's efforts to control eurozone budgets, analysts said. The local currency climbed against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 6.86 points, to 1,922.9. Trading volume was moderate at 324.9 million shares worth 4.1 trillion won ($3.6 billion) with gainers leading losers 485 to 338.
"The index got off to a strong start but the gain was limited as investors remained cautious ahead of the Germany-France meeting on Monday and the European summit on Friday (European time)," said Kwak Jung-bo, an analyst from Samsung Securities Co.
"But optimism about the integration of the eurozone countries is stronger than pessimism, pulling up the KOSPI."
Investors are expected to sit on the sidelines until this week to see how the European community sorts out the debt problem at the key meetings, he said.
Foreigners shifted to net sellers, offloading a net 73.5 billion won worth of local shares, while institutions snapped up a net 100.6 billion won.
Tech giant Samsung Electronics jumped 1.52 percent to 1,066,000 won, on a U.S. court ruling that allowed its Galaxy products to be sold in the U.S. and its smaller rival Hynix Semiconductor gained 0.65 percent to finish at 23,250 won.
Refiners gained ground on a bright earnings outlook. SK Innovation, the leading oil refiner, rose 0.58 percent to 174,500 won and S-Oil advanced 1.3 percent to 116,500 won.
Shipbuilders were also bullish, with world's biggest shipyard Hyundai Heavy Industries gaining 1.9 percent to 294,500 won.
Brokerages were underperformers, however, with KB Financial Group losing 1.64 percent to 39,050 won and Shinhan Financial Group sliding 0.69 percent to close at 42,900 won.
The local currency closed at 1,129.8 won, up 1.7 won from Friday's close, as investors scooped up risky assets, dealers said.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed unchanged. The yield on three-year Treasuries held steady at 3.38 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds ended flat at 3.49 percent. (Yonhap)