South Korean shares jumped Wednesday, keeping upward trend for two straight days, due to easing concerns over emerging economies, some of which raised policy rates to prevent further currency depreciation.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) climbed 24.22 points, or 1.26 percent, to close at 1,941.15. Trading volume stood at 213.12 million shares worth 4.18 trillion won (3. 91 billion U.S. dollars).
Worries about another financial meltdown in emerging economies eased after some countries hiked interest rates to prevent additional currency depreciation.
The Turkish central bank lifted its benchmark interest rate by a whopping 5.5 percentage point to 10 percent, and the Indian central bank raised its policy rate by 25 basis points.
Fears emerged that some emerging economies may fall into financial meltdown due to the U.S. Federal Reserve's tapering of its quantitative easing.
The tapering was feared to boost the value of the dollar versus emerging currencies, especially those with weak fundamentals such as Argentina, Turkey, Russia and South Africa. The Argentine peso tumbled around 15 percent last week alone.
The Fed was expected to reduce its monthly bond purchases further to 65 billion dollars after scaling down the size by 10 billion dollars to 75 billion dollars starting from this month. The U.S. central bank will end the two-day policy meeting on Wednesday.
Foreigners took a wait-and-see stance ahead of the Fed's policy meeting. They sold shares worth 22 billion won, keeping the selling streak for five straight sessions.
Retail investors offloaded stocks worth 207.5 billion won, but local institutions led the market advance by buying a net 224 billion won worth of shares.
Large-cap shares ended mixed. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 0.2 percent, and the nation's biggest web search engine NAVER slid 0.3 percent. The country's No. 2 carmaker Kia Motors declined 0.4 percent, but top automaker Hyundai Motor climbed 1.7 percent. Memory chip giant SK Hynix gained 2.9 percent, and the state-run power provider Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) jumped 3.8 percent.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,070.4 won against the greenback, up 10.8 won from Tuesday's close.
Bond prices ended lower. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes added 0.01 percentage point to 2.88 percent, and the return on the benchmark 5-year government bonds inched up 0.01 percentage point to 3.61 percent.