SEOUL, Feb. 3 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks extended their winning streak to a third consecutive session Wednesday, as foreigners continued to buy local stocks on expectations of a speedy economic recovery in Asia and globally. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 32.87 points, or 1.06 percent, to close at 3,129.68 points.

Trading volume was high at about 877 million shares worth some 21.6 trillion won (US$19.4 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 563 to 268.

Foreigners bought a net 426 billion won, while institutions sold a net 582 billion won. Retail investors purchased a net 132 billion won.

Electronic signboards at a Hana Bank dealing room in Seoul show the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 3,129.68 on Feb. 3, 2021, up 32.87 points or 1.06 percent from the previous session’s close. (Yonhap)

The KOSPI got off to a strong start after adding over 4 percent in total in the past two sessions, backed by optimism over a fast economic recovery, particularly in exports.

Strong institutional sell-offs briefly dragged the index below the 3,100-point mark late morning, but increased foreign buying offset the losses.

“(The KOSPI) seems to have gained on the fact that the gross domestic product (GDP) in the eurozone has not fallen much, in addition to positive news related to the COVID-19 vaccine supplies and hopes of U.S. stimulus plans,” Shinhan Financial Investment analyst Shin Yoo-joon said.

“The overall hike in Asian stock prices seems to have influenced the local stocks in the big picture as well,” he said.

Auto shares performed well, following a local report that Kia Corp., a smaller affiliate of Hyundai Motor, may have seen some progress in its talks with Apple Inc. for potential partnership in developing electric cars.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor hiked 2.08 percent to 245,500 won. Kia surged 9.65 percent to 97,700 won, and auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis added 3.89 percent to 347,500 won.

Top cap Samsung Electronics moved up 0.24 percent to 84,600 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix closed flat at 130,000 won.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem jumped 3.52 percent to 999,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI climbed 0.8 percent to 758,000 won.

Giant pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics slipped 0.12 percent to 825,000 won, and Celltrion retreated 2.25 percent to 347,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,114.9 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.8 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.2 basis point to 0.978 percent, while the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 0.2 basis points to 1.316 percent.