South Korean shares extended their winning streak to a fifth consecutive session Thursday, reaching the highest in over 100 days on economic recovery hopes. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 4.18 points, or 0.19 percent, to close at 2,151.18, the highest since Feb. 21. Trading volume was high at about 1.4 billion shares worth 15.8 trillion won ($13 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 441 to 391.
The index got off to a strong start, reaching an intraday high of 2,191.00, or up 2 percent from the previous session's close, in the first 10 minutes of trading.
It trimmed gains as investors apparently sought to cash in early gains.
Institutions bought a net 297.9 billion won, and foreigners purchased a net 46 billion won. Individuals offloaded a net 334.9 billion won.
"Large-caps led the index's gain yesterday, and today they got sold off for profit-taking, offsetting earlier gains," NH Investment & Securities analyst Noh Dong-kil said.
"The index may slow down in gains, but the hike is likely to last for a while amid hopes of economic reopening and coordinated global policies," he added.
Seoul stocks rallied for five straight sessions since Friday amid growing hopes of an economic recovery, further fueled by the country's 35.3 trillion-won extra budget proposal to revive the economy amid the fallout of the new coronavirus pandemic.
The proposed extra budget marks the third of its kind this year and the largest ever in the country's history.
Most large caps closed mixed.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 0.18 percent to 54,600 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix shed 1.13 percent to 87,700 won.
Leading pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics jumped 3.83 percent to 650,000 won, and Celltrion spiked 8.57 percent to 247,000 won.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor stayed flat at 108,500 won, while its smaller affiliate Kia Motors slipped 2.17 percent to 36,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,218.70 won per dollar, down 1.90 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 2.0 basis points to 0.886 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond gained 2.9 basis points to 1.179 percent. (Yonhap)