South Korean shares rebounded from two-day decline Wednesday as foreign and institutional investors betted bullish on stocks following Wall Street gains overnight.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) advanced 19.43 points, or 0.97 percent, to close at 2,017.06. Trading volume stood at 207.46 million shares worth 3.22 trillion won (3.15 billion U.S. dollars).
The main index took off a strong start and extended its earlier gains throughout the session as U.S. stocks closed higher on upbeat economic indicators.
Foreigners maintained their buying streak for 12 straight sessions by snapping up shares worth 116.8 billion won, and local institutions turned into net buyers first in 10 trading days, with shares bought by them worth 66 billion won.
The decline in the past two days were led by local institutions, which reduced holdings of shares due to strong demand from stock- type fund clients for cashing in on their investment.
Market watchers said that demand for cash holdings by stock fund investors shrank following the recent sell-off, noting pension funds bought stocks on views that recent declines were overdone.
Among large-cap shares, gainers outnumbered decliners. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 1.9 percent, and top automaker Hyundai Motor added 0.4 percent. Memory chip giant SK Hynix climbed 1 percent, and the nation's biggest web search engine Naver jumped more than 3 percent.
Top mobile operator SK Telecom declined 1.5 percent, and the nation's biggest steelmaker POSCO lost 0.3 percent. The country's No.1 life insurer Samsung Life Insurance dipped 0.1 percent, and leading chemical firm LG Chem slid 0.2 percent.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,021.4 won against the greenback, up 1.8 won from Tuesday's close.