South Korean shares advanced on Thursday as institutional investors made bargain hunting on views that the recent fall was overdone.The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 13.16 points, or 0.74 percent, to close at 1,782.47. Trading volume stood at 404.5 million shares worth 3.77 trillion won (3.29 billion U.S. dollars).
The KOSPI wobbled in the morning session, fluctuating in a narrow range, as concerns over Spain remained. The 10-year Spanish government bond yield hit a new euro-era high of 7.75 percent overnight, boosting worries that the country will need a full- scale bailout.
Weaker-than-expected earnings from Apple fueled concerns over the IT industry. Apple's net profit recorded 8.8 billion U.S. dollars or 9.32 dollars per share in the third fiscal quarter that ended June 30, lower than a market consensus of 10.35 dollars per share.
The key index, however, rebounded during the trading, and extended its earlier gains throughout the session as local institutions bought shares worth more than 100 billion won for two days in a row. "Concerns over Europe lasted and Apple's earnings results disappointed the market. The local stock market' s rebound was mainly attributable to bargain hunting by institutional investors," Kang Hyun-gie, a strategist at Solomon Investment & Securities in Seoul, told Xinhua.
Institutional investors purchased a net 127.4 billion won worth of stocks, but foreign investors kept their selling streak for four straight sessions, limiting the KOSPI's further gain. Foreigners sold a net 45.4 billion won worth of local stocks, and retail investors were net sellers worth 77 billion won.
Among large-cap shares, gainers outnumbered sellers. Leading chemical firm LG Chem jumped 3.6 percent to 303,000 won, and market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 1.2 percent to 1,172, 000 won.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 1.6 percent to 223,500 won after announcing a fresh record quarter high of operating profit for the second quarter, and KB Financial Group, the country's No. 2 banking group, rose 2.4 percent to 33,800 won on news that the banking group decided not to bid for 56.97 percent stakes in Woori Finance Holdings.
The nation's biggest steelmaker POSCO edged up 0.3 percent to 354,500 won, but top auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis fell 0.5 percent to 285,500 won. The world's largest shipyard Hyundai Heavy Industries and memory chip giant SK Hynix finished unchanged at 217,500 won and 20,400 won respectively.
The local currency finished at 1,146.9 won against the greenback, up 4.3 won from Wednesday's close.