South Korean shares closed sharply higher Friday, extending their winning streak to a sixth session on global stimulus hopes. The local currency rose against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) surged 30.69 points, or 1.43 percent, to close at 2,181.87, reaching the highest point since Feb. 20. Trading volume was moderate at about 840.1 million shares worth some 12.6 trillion won ($10.4 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 586 to 249.
Institutions bought a net 419.8 billion won, leading the stock index gain. Foreigners sold a net 73.1 billion won and individuals offloaded a net 329.5 billion won.
The recent gains have largely been attributed to growing hopes for an economic recovery, helped by stimulus measures in major economies, including Europe.
The Europe Central Bank (ECB) boosted its emergency asset-purchasing program to 1.35 trillion euros ($1.5 trillion), more than double the previously suggested 600 billion euros.
Investor sentiment further improved with hopes for a rate cut at the US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, set for June 9-10.
The FOMC is widely expected to freeze the interest rate at near zero, yet investors are hoping for the FOMC's additional stimulus measures, such as the yield-curve control. The emergency option involves purchasing Treasury securities to target the yield on a specific maturity.
"The yield-curve control may turn out to be more helpful than quantitative easing in maintaining low rates without having to stretch the Fed's balance sheets," DB Financial Investment analyst Seol Tae-hyun said.
At home, South Korea's two largest electronics firms -- Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. -- finished with steep gains from the previous session, following reports that the two companies dropped legal complaints against each other over QLED TV advertisement.
Samsung Electronics added 1.65 percent to close at 55,500 won, and LG Electronics climbed 1.29 percent to 63,000 won.
Most other large caps finished in positive terrain.
The country's No. 2 chipmaker, SK hynix, jumped 3.08 percent to 90,400 won.
Leading pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics added 2.31 percent to 665,000 won, with Celltrion advancing 3.85 percent to 256,500 won.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor rose 2.30 percent to 111,000 won, with its smaller affiliate Kia Motors up 1.53 percent to 36,550 won.
The local currency closed at 1,207.10 won per dollar, up 11.60 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 0.8 basis point to 0.894 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 1.0 basis point to 1.189 percent. (Yonhap)