South Korean stocks shot up nearly 1 percent Monday as stabilizing emerging markets helped investors dispel concern about a financial jolt, analysts said. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) advanced 17.70 points to close at 1,887.86. Trading volume was moderate at 312.4 million shares worth 3.23 trillion won (US$2.90 billion) with gainers outstripping decliners 535 to 266.
"External risks needed to be eased for the main index to seek momentum this week. Asia's key stock markets gathered ground with a foreign capital inflow, giving a positive signal to investors for a bargain hunting," said Kim Hyung-ryeol, an analyst at Kyobo Securities Co.
The emerging markets in Asia were rattled last week on fears over a sudden exit of foreign funds after the U.S central bank made clear about a gradual withdrawal of its massive stimulus package, possibly from next month.
Some Asian currencies tumbled, with their stock markets sharply losing ground.
But as worse-than-expected U.S. new home sales data in July lifted concerns about the Fed's tapering, Asian markets rebounded, analysts said.
Auto and chemical blue-chips drove up the shares, with Hyundai Motor jumping 3.72 percent to 237,000 won and LG Chem climbing 3.27 percent to 284,500 won.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.39 percent to 1,300,000 won.
But financial stocks finished bearish. No. 2 banking group KB Financial fell 0.57 percent to 34,700 won, and Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance shed 0.84 percent to 236,000 won.
The local currency ended at 1,112.70 won against the greenback, up 4.2 won from Friday's close, largely due to the foreign buying, dealers said. Offshore investors scooped up a net 179.2 billion won worth of local equities on the main bourse.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasuries inched down 0.02 percentage point to 2.94 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds fell 0.05 percentage point to 3.28 percent.