SEOUL, March 3 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks finished higher Wednesday on strong institutional buying amid mixed prospects of a post-pandemic bond yield hike. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 39.12 points, or 1.29 percent, to close at 3,082.99 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 2.2 billion shares worth some 13.9 trillion won (US$12.4 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 655 to 206.

Institutions bought a net 691 billion won, while foreigners offloaded a net 21 billion won and retail investors sold 655 billion won.

Electronic signboards at a Hana Bank dealing room in Seoul show the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 3,082.99 on March 3, 2021, up 39.12 points or 1.29 percent from the previous session’s close. (Yonhap)

Trading came to a choppy start, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street that came largely on comments by Chinese top banking regulator Guo Shuqing, who warned of “bubble risks” in global markets.

 Gains accelerated in the afternoon, led by strong gains by steel and tech stocks.

“Local stocks dipped at first after the overnight loss on Wall Street but managed to climb back on strong Chinese stock gains,” Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said.

“Investors’ optimism seems to have increased (after Guo’s soothing comment) that (Chinese) regulations would not be so strong as to hinder the economy,” he said.

Most large caps closed higher in Seoul.

Top cap Samsung Electronics advanced 0.48 percent to 84,000 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gained 1.73 percent to 147,000 won.

Giant internet portal operator Naver surged 5.83 percent, and its rival Kakao edged up 0.41 percent to 493,500 won.

Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics climbed 1.06 percent to 761,000 won, and Celltrion jumped 3.95 percent to 303,000 won.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem shed 2.36 percent to 870,000 won, while top automaker Hyundai Motor added 0.42 percent to 240,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,120.3 won against the U.S. dollar, up 3.7 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.2 basis point to 1.019 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 2.7 basis points to 1.423 percent.