SEOUL, April 23 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks closed higher Friday as individual investors scooped up local stocks on expectations of stock price hikes, despite negative impacts from the U.S. tax hike proposal. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 8.58 points, or 0.27 percent, to close at 3,186.1 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 2.2 billion shares worth some 15.4 trillion won (US$13.8 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 426 to 421.

Foreigners sold a net 26 billion won, and institutions offloaded a net 212 billion won, while retail investors purchased 235 billion won.

Trading opened sharply lower on the overnight Wall Street plunge as investors weighed the impact of the potential tax hike on the wealthy in the United States on social spending.

The KOSPI erased earlier losses and bounced back to gains in the late morning, backed by strong individual buying.

“The (ongoing) changes in the U.S. tax policies increased selling of local stocks, which in turn weakened the KOSPI’s upward momentum,” Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said.

“But such factors dragging down the index seem to have been already projected in the stock prices,” he said.

Steel, chemical and financial sectors led the KOSPI’s hike, aided by market optimism for a global economic rebound.

Tech slumped, while bio rebounded as South Korean authorities conditionally approved the use of COVID-19 self-test kits to contain fast-spreading local infections.

In Seoul, top cap Samsung Electronics added 0.49 percent to 828,000 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix shed 0.38 percent to 132,500 won.

Giant internet portal operator Naver fell 0.66 percent to 378,000 won, and Kakao closed unchanged at 117,500 won. Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics advanced 0.87 percent to 812,000 won.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem moved up 0.34 percent to 874,000 won, but top automaker Hyundai Motor retreated 2.21 percent to 221,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,117.8 won against the U.S. dollar, down 0.5 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 1.5 basis points to 1.120 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 2.9 basis points to 1.573 percent.