South Korean shares rebounded for the first time in three sessions on Thursday as institutional investors bought shares for bargain hunting.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 8. 26 points, or 0.42 percent, to close at 1,988.70. Trading volume stood at 686.81 million shares worth 4.66 trillion won (4.17 billion U.S. dollars).
The KOSPI started lower on Wall Street losses overnight, but it turned into positive terrain in the afternoon trading as local institutions bought shares for bargain hunting.
Concerns over Spain took center stage overnight at the global stock market. Angry protesters in Spain who opposed the new austerity measures clashed with police. Protesters took to the streets in Madrid to express frustration towards further spending cuts.
The Spanish government was expected to unveil on Thursday its draft budget plan for 2013, including a new austerity package aimed to check its bloated deficit to 4.5 percent of GDP in 2013.
Foreign investors sold local shares amid lingering concerns over the European fiscal crisis. Foreigners sold a net 131 billion won worth of local stocks.
Local institutions, however, bought shares worth 100.6 billion won. Retail investors purchased a net 39.6 billion won worth of shares, and program-linked transactions posted net buying worth 144.1 billion won.
Among large-cap shares, gainers outnumbered decliners. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 1.0 percent to 1,338,000 won, and top crude oil refiner SK Innovation advanced 1.5 percent to 168,500 won. The world's largest shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries climbed 1.6 percent to 256,600 won, and leading chemical firm LG Chem rose 1.5 percent to 330,000 won.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor edged up 0.6 percent to 248,500 won, but its affiliate Kia Motors declined 2.9 percent to 69,800 won. The nation's biggest auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis inched down 0. 2 percent to 316,00 won, and the nation's No. 1 steelmaker POSCO fell 0.9 percent to 367,500 won.
The local currency finished at 1,116.2 won against the greenback, up 4.9 won from Wednesday's close.
Bond prices ended lower. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes rose 0.02 percentage point to 2.81 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds added 0.02 percentage point to 2.89 percent.