South Korean shares rebounded for the first time in three sessions on Monday amid the continued foreign capital inflow into the local stock market, but the gain was limited amid lackluster momentum to push local stocks even higher, analysts said.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 12. 56 points, or 0.62%, to close at 2,047.00. Trading volume stood at 545.6 million shares worth 4.87 trillion won (4.34 billion U.S. dollars).
The KOSPI started higher, and stayed in the positive terrain throughout the session as market sentiment was boosted by continued foreign buying, but the index's rise was limited amid lack of momentum to push stocks even higher.
"There was no specific issue to move local shares in any direction after Wall Street came to a lull last week. The KOSPI faced its resistance at the 2,060-point level," Yoo Kyung-ha, an analyst at Dongbu Securities in Seoul, told Xinhua.
Yoo noted that hopes for the future liquidity rally eased further following the announcement of consumer price data in the United States, saying that the sterilized quantitative easing by the U.S. Federal Reserve was expected to come amid emerging worries about the inflation risk.
The U.S. consumer price index increased 0.4% in February after oil prices jumped. The Fed was widely projected to buy long- term assets such as mortgage-backed securities (MBS) in a bid to stimulate the still fragile real estate market, while injecting short-term liquidity into the financial system by purchasing bonds with short maturities.
Foreign investors led the market rebound by maintain their buying streak for five straight sessions, but their net buying volume stood merely at 34.7 billion won. Retail investors bought a net 83.5 billion won worth of shares, but local institutions sold a net 112.8 billion won worth of stocks.
Tech shares gained ground amid expectations for first-quarter earnings results. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 1. 78% to 1,260,000 won, and memory chip giant Hynix Semiconductor advanced 1.74% to 29,300 won.
Builders ended bullish on hopes for an increase in overseas orders, and financial firms, including banks and insurers, mostly showed outperformance on positive views over the first-quarter earnings season. The nation's leading builder Samsung C&T climbed 1.83% to 77,900 won, and top life insurer Samsung Life Insurance jumped 3.54% to 99,400 won.
Auto shares ended mixed. Top automaker Hyundai Motor rose 0.45% to 224,000 won, but its affiliate Kia Motors were down 1. 39% to 71,000 won. The country's largest auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis fell 1.38% to 285,000 won.
Many large-cap shares moved in narrow range to end flat amid lack of momentum. Leading chemical firm LG Chem ended unchanged at 373,000 won, and the world's No. 1 shipyard Hyundai Heavy Industries finished flat at 328,000 won.
The local currency finished at 1,122.3 won against the greenback, up 3.6 won from Friday's close.
Bond prices ended lower. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes advanced 0.03 percentage points to 3.62%, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds jumped 0.06 percentage points to 3.76%.