SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks advanced for a second consecutive session Wednesday, as auto and tech stocks continued to rebound. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 21.89 points, or 0.71 percent, to close at 3,114.55 points.
Trading volume was high at about 1.2 billion shares worth some 24.3 trillion won (US$22.1 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 511 to 322.
Foreigners sold a net 236 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 1.4 trillion won. Institutions offloaded a net 1.2 trillion won.
The KOSPI traded choppy after the key index rallied 2.61 percent the previous session.
The key index got off to a strong start on overnight comments by U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen backing a large-scale fiscal relief package to reinvigorate the world’s largest economy hit by the pandemic.
But the index undid much of its gains, largely on institutional selling for profit-taking.
“Despite Yellen’s signal, institutional sell-offs seem to have limited the KOSPI’s hike after it reached the 3,100-point level,” Bookook Securities researcher Lee Won said.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor lost 0.96 percent to 259,000 won, while its smaller affiliate Kia Motors jumped 5.04 percent to 87,600 won, following a 17 percent rise the previous day.
LG Electronics surged 12.84 percent to 167,000 won after the major home appliance maker said its mobile business is open to “every possibility” amid rumors that the South Korean tech giant may sell its money-losing unit.
Top cap Samsung Electronics gained 0.23 percent to 87,200 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix closed unchanged at 130,500 percent.
Leading chemical firm LG Chem added 0.3 percent to 1 million won, while rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI climbed 1.64 percent to 744,000 won.
The local currency closed at at 1,100.3 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.6 won from the previous session’s close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 0.2 basis point to 0.976 percent, while the return on the benchmark five-year government bond lost 1.6 basis points to 1.281 percent.