South Korean shares rose Monday as concerns eased over a shortage of liquidity in a leading Portuguese bank, but the rise was limited as foreigners sold stocks after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s launch of artillery shells.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 5. 14 points, or 0.26 percent, to close at 1,993.88. Trading volume stood at 267.61 million shares worth 3.07 trillion won (3.02 billion U.S. dollars).
Last Friday, the KOSPI dropped as Banco Espirito Santo, a leading Portuguese lender, delayed payments on short-term debts that were sold to Swiss private banking clients.
The main index, however, rebounded Monday on growing views that the liquidity trouble would not lead to the overall crisis in the European financial market.
The KOSPI's rebound was limited as foreign investors turned into net sellers following the DPRK's firing exercises.
The DPRK fired some 100 rounds of artillery shells into its eastern waters from the region just north of the inter-Korean land border.
It was the DPRK's 15th launch of missiles of artillery shells this year, and the fifth firing in less than three weeks.
It was also rare for the DPRK to conduct its firing exercise just north of the military demarcation line in the east coast.
Retail investors bought stocks worth 22.7 billion won, but foreign and institutional investors sold shares worth 9.6 billion won and 6.2 billion won respectively.
Top web search engine Naver gained nearly 2 percent, leading the market rebound. Memory chip giant SK Hynix rose 0.8 percent, and market bellwether Samsung Electronics ended in a slight positive territory. Other large-cap stocks, including Hyundai Mobis, Korea Electric Power Corp. and Shinhan Financial Group, closed slightly higher.
Top steelmaker POSCO and the nation's No.2 carmaker Kia Motors fell more than 1 percent, and the nation's No.1 automaker Hyundai Motor edged down.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,018.2 won against the greenback, up 0.8 won from Friday's close.
Bond prices ended mixed. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes fell 0.001 percentage point to 2.585 percent, but the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds rose 0.002 percentage point to 3.065 percent.