South Korean shares ended 2.11 percent higher on Monday as appetite for risk emerged amid eased European debt crisis, analysts said.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) jumped 39.36 points, or 2.11 percent, to close at 1,902.81. Trading volume stood at 323.07 million shares worth 5.19 trillion won (4. 62 billion U.S. dollars).
The KOSPI started 1.39 percent higher and extended its earlier gains throughout the session as risk-taking sentiment arose after concerns over Europe's debt crisis abated.
Mario Monti, former European Union (EU) competition commissioner, was named as Italy's new prime minister after Silvio Berlusconi resigned, while Italian lawmakers passed austerity package, boosting investor confidence and curbing Italy' s borrowing costs.
"The KOSPI rose higher than expected after Italy approved austerity measures last weekend. Appetite for risk assets was also boosted by news that the European Central Bank (ECB) aggressively bought Italian bonds after the country's borrowing costs soared to a euro-era record," Kang Hyun-gie, a strategist at Solomon Investment & Securities in Seoul, told Xinhua.
Kang, however, noted that Italy's debt problem would likely resurface as there were no buyers who sought to hold Italy's government bonds except for the ECB, saying the euro-area's economy would slow down that may result in sluggishness in exports of major countries.
Foreigners led the market rally. Overseas investors bought a net 130.3 billion won worth of local shares, while building up 6, 811 contracts for long positions in the KOSPI200 index futures. Local institutions purchased a net 259.3 billion won worth of stocks, boosting the two-day rebound, but retail investors dumped stocks worth 456.1 billion won.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 1.32 percent to end at 996,000 won after topping the psychologically important 1 million won level during the trading. Memory chip giant Hynix Semiconductor gained 3.48 percent to 22,300 won after top mobile carrier SK Telecom was picked as a preferred bidder for a major stake in Hynix, raising speculation that the long-pending sale of the chipmaker would be finalized
Steel shares rose sharply on expectations for strong sales in China. The nation's No.1 steelmaker POSCO jumped 4.62 percent to 385,000 won, and its smaller rival Hyundai Steel soared 6.47 percent to 107,000 won. Another steelmaker Dongkuk Steel surged more than 8 percent.
Machinery and building firms gained ground on hopes for economic recovery amid eased European woes. Doosan Infracore picked up 938 percent to 21,000 won, and Doosan Engine jumped over 7 percent. GS Engineering & Construction advanced more than 5 percent.
The local currency finished at 1,123.2 won against the greenback, up 3.5 won from Friday's close.
Bond prices ended lower. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes rose 0.02 percentage point to 3.39 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds gained 0.04 percentage point to 3.56 percent.