Shares gain 0.94% on bargain hunting
Korean stocks gained 0.94 percent Monday on bargain hunting of big caps following last week's tumble triggered by the eurozone's fiscal woes, analysts said. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) picked up 16.67 points to 1,799.13, after falling sharply last week. Trading volume was moderate at 406 million shares worth 4.20 trillion won (US$3.60 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 470 to 389.
"A sharp drop in stock prices last week fueled bargain hunting which helped the bourse to recover some lost ground," said Kwak Jung-bo, an analyst at Samsung Securities Co.
He said the local market is coping better than last year with external shocks, and predicted that despite lingering concerns related to eurozone's debt problems, the local stock market should be resistant to sharp falls.
Kang Hyun-cheol, a strategist for Woori Investment & Securities, said the possibility of a Greek default is not too high because such a development could cause a chain reaction that other European countries will not permit.
Speculation that the European Union may support a 200 billion euro ($255.9 billion) economic stimulus program also helped the local market make a comeback in the trading session, analysts said.
Many big-cap shares that lost ground in the previous session made a comeback, with electronics and autos leading the gain, while steel remained weak.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics surged 3.69 percent to 1,209,000 won, with top automaker Hyundai Motor jumping 3.49 percent to 237,000 won.
Kia Motors Corp., Korea's No. 2 carmaker, moved up 3.82 percent to 76,100 won, with LG Chem, a leading manufacturer of rechargeable batteries, posting 0.72 percent gains to 280,500 won.
The country's top refiner SK Innovation rose 1.44 percent to 140,500 won, while Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world's largest shipmaker, gained 0.79 percent to 255,000 won.
Shares of leading steelmaker POSCO, however, sank 0.28 percent to 357,500 won, while Hyundai Steel gave up 1.18 percent to 83,700 won.
The local currency finished at 1,168.9 won to the U.S. greenback, up 3.9 won from Friday's close, dealers said.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasuries edged up 0.01 percentage point to 3.37 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds gained 0.02 percentage point to 3.49 percent. (Yonhap)