SEOUL, Dec. 28 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks set a new record high Monday, backed by a fresh U.S. stimulus deal and eased uncertainties from Brexit. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 1.74 points, or 0.06 percent, to close at 2,808.6.

Trading volume was high at about 978 million shares worth some 23.6 trillion won (US$21.5 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 530 to 315.

The index extended its all-time high for a second straight session on strong institutional buying.

Institutions purchased a net 854 billion won, while retail investors sold a net 931 billion won. Foreigners bought a net 52 billion won.

Electronic signboards at a Hana Bank dealing room in Seoul show the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 2,808.6 on Dec. 28, 2020, up 1.74 points or 0.06 percent from the previous session’s close. (Yonhap)

The KOSPI climbed as high as 2,834.59 points early morning on imminent U.S. fiscal spending aimed at coping with the virus fallout, in addition to eased woes over Britain’s departure from the European Union (EU).

However, the KOSPI erased most of its earlier gains toward the session’s close, largely due to growing concerns over the highly transmissible coronavirus variant.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) confirmed a new, potentially more transmissible coronavirus variant in three arrivals from Britain.

“The KOSPI received an uptick push last week from its strong Chinese peers and bulky U.S. over-the-counter trading, but the new strain of virus from Britain seems to have increased desire to take profit,” Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 1.16 percent to a fresh record high of 78,700 won, but No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix shed 2.12 percent to 115,500 won.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics lost 0.63 percent to 789,000 won, and Celltrion dipped 4.03 percent to 333,500 won.

Internet portal giant Naver moved down 0.35 percent to 281,000 won, with its rival Kakao declining 0.27 percent to 373,000 won.

Leading chemical maker LG Chem fell 0.49 percent to 813,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI dropped 0.71 percent to 559,000 won.

Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest automaker, advanced 1.34 percent to 189,500 won, while top steelmaker POSCO gained 0.92 percent to 273,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,096.7 won per dollar, up 6.3 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 0.8 basis point to 0.958 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 0.2 basis point to 1.316 percent.