SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks finished the final session of 2020 with a Santa rally Wednesday, hitting an all-time high for a fourth straight day. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 52.96 points, or 1.88 percent, to close at 2,873.47.

Trading volume was high at about 1.1 billion shares worth some 17.7 trillion won (US$16.3 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 651 to 191.

Foreigners bought a net 245 billion won, while retail investors sold a net 492 billion won. Institutions purchased a net 197 billion won.’

Electronic signboards at a Hana Bank dealing room in Seoul show the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 2,873.47 on Dec. 30, 2020, up 52.96 points or 1.88 percent from the previous session’s close. (Yonhap)

Stocks widened gains after a weak start on profit-taking, helped by strong advances on chips and battery heavyweights.

Analysts largely attributed the gains to expectations of speedy recovery from the pandemic next year.

“The KOSPI rallied despite the absence of concrete events (to influence the markets),” Shinhan Financial Investment analyst Choi Yoo-joon said.

“Year-end sessions are usually marked by lackluster trading, but today, the daily turnover made a steep increase,” he added.

Most large caps closed higher.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics jumped 3.45 percent to record 81,000 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix added 2.16 percent to 118,500 won.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics gained 0.49 percent to 826,000 won, while Celltrion lost 0.42 percent to 359,000 won.

Internet portal giant Naver advanced 3.36 percent to 292,500 won, with its rival Kakao moving up 1.3 percent to 389,500 won.

Leading chemical maker LG Chem rose 1.35 percent to 824,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI spiked up 4.49 percent to 628,000 won.

Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest automaker, climbed 0.79 percent to 192,000 won, and top steelmaker POSCO hiked 0.74 percent to 272,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,086.3 won per dollar, up 5.8 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 0.5 basis point to 0.978 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 0.8 basis point to 1.335 percent.

The first trading session of the new year will begin one hour later at 10 a.m. on Monday. It will close at the usual time of 3:30 p.m., according to the Korea Exchange (KRX).