SEOUL, Nov. 27 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks hit another fresh record high Friday on recovery hopes despite soaring new coronavirus cases. The Korean won surged to an over 29-month high against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 7.54 points, or 0.29 percent, to close at 2,633.45.

Trading volume was moderate at about 1.2 billion shares worth some 12.4 trillion won (US$11.2 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 488 to 332.

Foreigners bought a net 77 billion won, and retail investors purchased a net 196 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 279 billion won.

Stocks traded choppy after a muted start, as soaring COVID-19 cases and valuation pressure left investors questioning the index’s short-term peak.

South Korea’s new daily COVID-19 cases exceeded 500 for the second straight day Friday.

But expectations of year-end rally and hopes of economic recovery helped boost appetites for risky assets, analysts said.

In Seoul, most large caps closed mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 0.29 percent to 68,200 won, but No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix shed 0.6 percent to 98,800 won.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics closed unchanged at 799,000 won, and Celltrion gained 1.37 percent to 334,000 won.

Internet portal giant Naver declined 0.35 percent to 284,500 won, with its rival Kakao down 0.27 percent to 373,000 won.

Leading chemical maker LG Chem fell 0.74 percent to 810,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI edged up 0.18 percent to 551,000 won.

Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest automaker, advanced 1.12 percent to 181,000 won, while top steelmaker POSCO retreated 1.24 percent to 239,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,103.2 won per dollar, up 1.4 won from the previous session’s close to the highest since 1097.8 won on June 15, 2018.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.2 basis point to 0.979 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 0.9 basis point to 1.324 percent.