South Korean stocks ended 0.3 percent higher on Wednesday as continued optimism over the eurozone's policy efforts to salvage the region from a debt crisis kept investor sentiment afloat, analysts said. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.
After opening lower, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) climbed 5.66 points to 1,894.31. Trading volume was moderate at 379 million shares worth 5.49 trillion won (US$4.85 billion), with gainers outnumbering decliners 428 to 374.
"The shift to positive territory indicates an upward energy in the market. Although anticipation over the second round of Europe summit has slightly faded, investors are still hopeful over upcoming events such as the Group of 20 summit ," said Lim Dong-lak, an analyst at Hanyang Securities Co.
"Overall, the market seems to be getting more resilient to external circumstances," Lim said.
Refiners led the gain with industry leader SK Innovation gaining 2.42 percent to 169,000 won and smaller player S-Oil surging 5.45 percent to 116,000 won.
Korea Zinc, the country's top zinc smelter, advanced 4.68 percent to 335,500 won after posting better-than-expected business results in the third quarter.
Mid-size steelmaker Seah Steel skyrocketed by the daily limit of 15 percent to 80,500 won on recommendations it will benefit the most from a transnational gas pipeline project connecting the two Koreas and Russia.
Tech behemoth LG Electronics rose 2.24 percent to 77,500 won despite swinging to a net loss in the third quarter.
Financials were mixed. Korea Exchange Bank gained 2.08 percent to 7,870 won after the financial regulator ordered Lone Star Funds to prove its eligibility as the major shareholder of the No. 5 lender.
Blue chips mostly ended in negative territory, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics retreating 1.16 percent to 934,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,132.3 won to the greenback, down 3.3 won from Tuesday's close, as market participants stepped to the sidelines ahead of a Europe summit, dealers said.