SEOUL, June 2 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks advanced for the fourth session in a row Wednesday, backed by strong economic data fueled expectations of an increase in corporate earnings and a quick economic rebound from the pandemic. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 2.36 points, or 0.07 percent, to close at 3,224.23 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 1.5 billion shares worth some 17.5 trillion won (US$15.7 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 514 to 340.

Foreigners bought a net 32 billion won, while institutions sold 315 billion won. Retail investors purchased a net 306 billion won.

Electronic signboards at a Hana Bank dealing room in Seoul show the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 3,224.23 on June 2, 2021, up 2.36 points or 0.07 percent from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

The KOSPI opened slightly higher amid expectations of an increase in corporate earnings and a quick economic rebound from the pandemic.

South Korea’s consumer price index rose 2.6 percent on-year in May, marking the fastest on-year increase since April 2012.

Trading turned choppy, however, as investors weighed two opposite potential impacts of the price hike: U.S. tapering and better corporate earnings.

Investors’ eyes are on the upcoming economic diagnosis from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, set to speak Wednesday (U.S. time).

“The FOMC uncertainties seem to be holding off foreign buying of the overall Asian stocks,” said Eugene Investment & Securities analyst Huh Jae-hwan.

Top cap Samsung Electronics edged up 0.25 percent to 80,800 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix lost 1.95 percent to 126,000 won.

Internet portal operator Naver moved down 1.09 percent to 363,000 won, and pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics shed 1.68 percent to 818,000 won.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem retreated 2.18 percent to 807,000 won, but top automaker Hyundai rose 0.86 percent to 353,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,113.3 won against the U.S. dollar, down 7.4 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.7 basis point to 1.206 percent, while the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 0.5 basis point to 1.731 percent.