SEOUL, May 6 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks advanced Thursday as hopes for a global economic rebound offset inflation worries. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 31.37 points, or 1 percent, to close at 3,178.74 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 1.2 billion shares worth some 16.4 trillion won (US$14.6 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 733 to 157.
Foreigners sold a net 99 billion won, extending their selling streak to a seventh session, while institutions purchased 202 billion won. Retail investors offloaded a net 91 billion won.
The KOSPI got off to a weak start, tracking the overnight U.S. tech decline from the quicker-than-expected inflation.
Tech shares retreated in Seoul amid foreign selling, following U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s comment that interest rates may have to rise to prevent the economy from overheating.
Steel, heavy industries and chemical shares increased.
The stock index gained ground, however, largely as institutions scooped up stocks on speculation that the fast global recovery would spur the local exporters’ earnings.
“The U.S. stocks fluctuated on the May 5 holiday due to Yellen’s inflation remarks, but the U.S. bond yields ended lower,” said HI Investment & Securities analyst Park Sang-hyun.
“Impact from the inflation worries seem to have eventually diminished (in today’s local trading),” he said.
In Seoul, top cap Samsung Electronics declined 0.36 percent to 82,300 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix lost 2.27 percent to 129,000 won.
Giant internet portal operator Naver decreased 0.82 percent to 361,500 won, with its rival moving down 0.43 percent to 115,000 won.
Leading chemical firm LG Chem climbed 1.96 percent to 938,000 won, and top automaker Hyundai Motor closed unchanged from the previous session at 223,500 won.
Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics advanced 2.49 percent to 783,000 won, and Celltrion declined 2.88 percent to 252,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,125.8 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3.2 won from the previous session’s close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 1.8 basis points to 1.140 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 1.4 basis points to 1.629 percent.