South Korean shares ended in positive territory on Monday as local financial institutions hunted for bargains despite lingering worry about the U.S. central bank's expected interest rate hike in June.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 7.58 points, or 0.39 percent, to settle at 1,955.25. Trading volume stood at 393.84 million shares worth 4.01 trillion won (3.39 billion U.S. dollars).
As the KOSPI fell below the 1,950-point mark last week, institutional investors purchased stocks on demand for bargain-hunting.
However, the stock purchase was limited on the remaining concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to raise its policy rate as early as next month given the April FOMC meeting minutes, in which U.S. central bankers suggested the need for higher interest rates.
Investors'sentiment was also damaged by possible Brexit, or Britain's exit from the European Union (EU), ahead of a referendum in the European country scheduled for next month.
Institutional investors bought local stocks worth 38 billion won. Foreigners, who sold local stocks in early trading, turned into net buyers by purchasing a net 5 billion won worth of shares. Retail investors alone offloaded stocks worth 68 billion won.
Market watchers said that foreign purchase in stock futures and institutional buying of stocks on spot contributed to the higher close of the KOSPI, expecting volatile moves of stocks in the near term amid lingering concerns about external uncertainties.
Blue-chip stocks ended mixed. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 1.3 percent, and top automaker Hyundai Motor added 0.8 percent. The biggest auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis rose 0.6 percent, and memory chip giant SK Hynix advanced 3.4 percent.
The state-run power supplier Korea Electric Power Corp. lost 0.3 percent, and top life insurer Samsung Life Insurance declined 2.4 percent. Leading cosmetics producer Amore Pacific inched down 0.1 percent, and the No.2 carmaker Kia Motors dipped 0.8 percent.
South Korea's currency finished at 1,182.9 won against the greenback, up 7.3 won from Friday's close.
Bond prices ended higher. Yields on the liquid three-year treasury notes fell 0.4 basis points to 1.467 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds lost 0.3 basis points to 1.800 percent.