Shares end 0.34% higher on corporate earnings
Korean stocks closed 0.34 percent higher Monday as investor sentiment was buoyed by better-than-expected U.S. corporate earnings in the first quarter and good showing by local blue chip companies, analysts said. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 6.64 points to close at 1,981.99, rising for a third session. Trading volume was heavy at 824 million shares worth 6.21 trillion won ($5.49 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 437 to 406.
"Gains by such companies as Ford in the first quarter helped Wall Street move up last week, which contributed to the local bourse making some headway," said Lim Dong-rak, an analyst from Hanyang Securities Co.
The KOSPI tends to track the large U.S. stock market and other overseas developments.
Tong Yang Securities Inc.'s Kim Joo-hyung also said many downside risks have already been reflected in the local market. "This prevented serious downside movement caused by persistent eurozone and global economic uncertainties," he said.
Others said last week's good showing by leading South Korean companies in electronics and autos helped attract more investors into the KOSPI and pushed up stock prices, particularly among some big conglomerates.
Electronics and auto companies generally led the market with steel and petrochemicals losing ground.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 1.16 percent to close at 1,390,000 won, with top automaker Hyundai Motor jumping 3.07 percent to 268,500 won.
Kia Motors, South Korea's second-largest carmaker and Hyundai Motor's affiliate, jumped 3.35 percent to 83,400 won. Hyundai Mobis, a leading auto parts maker, moved up 2.50 percent to 307,500 won.
State-run power monopoly Korea Electric Power Corp., however, surrendered 1.38 percent to 21,450 won, with top refiner SK Innovation losing 3.36 percent to 158,000 won.
LG Chem, a leading manufacturer of rechargeable batteries, plunged 4.53 percent to 284,500 won, while leading steelmaker POSCO lost 0.79 percent to 375,500 won.
Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world's largest shipmaker, gave up 2.08 percent to 283,000 won.
The local currency finished at 1,130.0 won to the greenback, up 5.2 won from Friday's close, dealers said.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasuries dipped 0.01 percentage point to 3.45 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds fell 0.02 percentage point to 3.56 percent.(Yonhap)