South Korean stocks closed 0.22 percent higher Monday amid signs of an economic recovery in advanced countries, analysts said. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 4.12 points to finish at 1,884.83. Trading volume was light at 293.9 million shares worth 3.04 trillion won (US$2.73 billion) with losers outpacing gainers 466 to 313.
Analysts said the local stock market gathered ground on rising hope for recovery in the global economy.
"While the eurozone economy is anticipated to post a growth for the first time in 21 months in the second quarter, the U.S. also posted improved manufactures and housing data," said Han Beom-ho, a researcher at Shinhan Investment Corp.
The local stock market's growth, however, was limited as investors continued to take a wait-and-see approach on a possible scaling down of the U.S. quantitative easing moves in September, analysts added.
Presidents of the Federal Reserve banks of St. Louis and Atlanta are slated to deliver speeches later this week, which are anticipated to allow investors to glean information on the U.S. Fed's future policy moves.
Overseas investors sold more shares than they bought at net 56.9 billion won, and individuals also offloaded a net 42.4 billion won. On the other hand, institutions scooped up a net 93.5 billion won.
Tech shares closed higher, with No. 1 Samsung Electronics moving up 0.16 percent to 1,232,000 won and top chipmaker SK hynix adding 1.31 percent to 27,000 won.
Logistics firms also finished bullish, with Hyundai Glovis rising 2.13 percent to 192,000 won and Hyundai Merchant Marine advancing 2.4 percent to 19,200 won. STX Pan Ocean surged 8.32 percent to 2,540 won.
In contrast, Asiana Airlines, South Korea's No. 2 flag carrier, closed lower for the seventh-consecutive trading session by falling 1.95 percent to 4,530 won due mainly to its weak performance for the second quarter.
Brokerage houses also closed bearish, with KDB Daewoo Securities moving down 0.2 percent to 9,760 won and Woori Investment & Securities losing 0.42 percent to 11,750 won. Samsung Securities closed unchanged at 45,500 won.
The local currency ended at 1,113.70 won against the greenback, down 1.50 won from Friday's close, amid continuing uncertainty over the U.S. policy moves, dealers said.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasuries inched down 0.01 percentage point to 2.90 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds fell 0.02 percentage point to 3.21 percent.