SEOUL, Nov. 20 (Yonhap) — Despite surging new coronavirus cases, South Korean stocks continued their upward march to extend their winning streak to a third day on Friday on strong foreign buying.

   The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

   The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 6.08 points, or 0.24 percent, to close at 2,553.5 points, the highest since Feb. 1, 2018.

   Trading volume was moderate at about 1.1 billion shares worth some 12.1 trillion won (US$10.9 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 553 to 267.

   Foreigners purchased a net 102 billion won, while institutions sold a net 231 billion won. Retail investors bought a net 124 billion won.

   Analysts largely attributed the KOSPI’s gain to foreigners’ 12-session buying spree — the longest buying streak in 46 months.

   “Local stocks traded choppy from impacts of the U.S. economic lockdown, but eventually rebounded on strong foreign buying,” said Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-yong.

   But investors are wary of rising virus cases at home and abroad.

   South Korea’s new daily cases exceeded 300 for the third consecutive day Friday, with authorities warning against a third wave of mass infection.

   Most large caps closed mixed in Seoul.

   Market bellwether Samsung Electronics edged up 0.15 percent to 64,700 won, but No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix shed 1.43 percent to 96,800 won.

   Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics retreated 1.11 percent to 799,000 won, while Celltrion advanced 0.85 percent to 296,500 won.

   Internet portal giant Naver inched up 0.18 percent to 281,000 won, and its rival Kakao closed unchanged at 365,500 won.

   Leading chemical maker LG Chem added 0.42 percent to 724,000 won, but rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI dropped 0.58 percent to 515,000 won.

   Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest automaker, fell 1.67 percent to 177,000 won, while top steelmaker POSCO moved up 0.64 percent to 237,500 won.

   The local currency closed at 1,114.3 won per dollar, up 1.3 won from the previous session’s close.

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