South Korean shares ended in positive territory on Thursday as foreigners snapped up local stocks amid hopes for global recovery.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) advanced 13.66 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 1,977.97. Trading volume stood at 212.69 million shares worth 3.87 trillion won (3.61 billion U.S. dollars).
The KOSPI stayed at a slightly higher level in the morning session, extending the gain in the afternoon amid a rise in foreign purchases on growing hopes for global recovery.
Concerns remained over the Ukraine crisis, but foreign investors focused more on recovery expectations. Worries lingered that the United States and European nations may impose sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Crimea.
Market watchers said foreigners bought stocks as they may think that the Russian economy is not big enough to change the course of the global recovery, noting that sentiment among investors was cautious yet.
Foreigners raised their holdings of domestic stocks by 242.4 billion won, and local institutions bought a net 42.8 billion won worth of shares. Retail investors locked in profits by offloading shares worth 211.2 billion won.
Samsung Electronics, which account for more than 20 percent of the total market capitalization, surged 3.7 percent to close at 1, 333,000 won on news that its latest smartphone Galaxy S5 was rolled out via local mobile operators.
Top mobile operator SK Telecom gained 2.1 percent, and the nation's biggest auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis rose 1.4 percent. The No. 1 carmaker Hyundai Motor advanced 1.2 percent, and the nation's biggest life insurer Samsung Life Insurance added 1 percent.
South Korea's largest steelmaker POSCO rose 0.5 percent, but memory chip giant SK Hynix declined 1.8 percent. Leading chemical firm LG Chem slid 0.2 percent, and the state-run power supplier Korea Electric Power Corp. lost 1.1 percent.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,071.5 won against the greenback, up 3.5 won from Wednesday's close.
Bond prices ended higher. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes lost 0.01 percentage point to 2.87 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds fell 0.01 percentage point to 3.53 percent.