SEOUL, Dec. 11 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks gained nearly 1 percent to a fresh all-time high Friday, as hopes for new coronavirus vaccinations boosted investor sentiment. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 23.6 points, or 0.86 percent, to close at 2,770.06.
Trading volume was high at about 1.1 billion shares worth some 18 trillion won (US$16.5 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 659 to 192.
Foreigners bought a net 163 billion won, while retail investors sold a net 506 billion won. Institutions raked in a net 221 billion won.
Local stocks continued to remain bullish, as vaccine hopes offset concerns over increasing COVID-19 cases at home and disappointing jobless data in the United States.
Investor sentiment got a boost from a U.S. government advisory panel’s endorsement of widespread use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine.
Investors pinned high hopes on the endorsement accelerating the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s emergency authorization for the vaccine and hastening the global economic recovery.
Retail and construction, hit hard by the pandemic’s fallout, also rebounded.
“Local large caps rebounded on strong institutional buying today, with certain sectors that had been less popular being added to the portfolio readjustment,” said Hana Financial & Investment analyst Lee Young-gon.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 0.69 percent to 73,400 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix shed 0.86 percent to 115,500 won.
Internet portal giant Naver gained 1.4 percent to 290,000 won, with its rival Kakao moving up 1.08 percent to 374,500 won.
Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics edged up 0.12 percent to 820,000 won, and its rival Celltrion advanced 0.28 percent to 361,000 won.
Leading chemical maker LG Chem fell 1.1 percent to 808,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI dropped 0.71 percent to 556,000 won.
Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest automaker, dropped 0.78 percent to 190,000 won, while top steelmaker POSCO jumped 2.76 percent to 279,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,090.3 won per dollar, down 2.6 won from the previous session’s close.