South Korean shares ended higher Wednesday on emerging hope for upbeat earnings caused by the better-than-expected earnings results from market bellwether Samsung Electronics.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 12.23 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,059.26 at the close. Trading volume stood at 546 million shares worth 6.42 trillion won (5.88 billion U.S. dollars).
Samsung announced its preliminary figure for the first-quarter earnings Tuesday. Its operating profit advanced 11.53 percent from three months earlier to 5.9 trillion won in the first quarter, beating market expectations.
The better-than-expected Samsung earnings boosted hopes for the positive first-quarter earnings season. Market watchers forecast that energy, steel and chemical companies would unveil upbeat first-quarter earnings.
Foreign and institutional investors raised stock holdings by 95 billion won and 61 billion won respectively, leading the market advance. Retail investors sold shares worth 138 billion won to lock in recent profits.
Large-cap shares ended mixed. Top steelmaker POSCO advanced 2.6 percent, and leading cosmetics maker Amore Pacific gained 2.5 percent. The No.1 auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis rose 1.7 percent, and Samsung Electronics added 1.2 percent.
Memory chip giant SK Hynix declined 2.1 percent, and the state- run power supplier Korea Electric Power Corp. lost 3.6 percent. Top mobile operator SK Telecom declined 2.9 percent, and the largest life insurer Samsung Life Insurance slid 2.4 percent.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,091.0 won against the greenback, down 2.5 won from Tuesday's close.
Bond prices ended lower. Yields on the liquid three-year treasury notes rose 0.6 basis points to 1.727 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds gained 0.8 basis point to 2.112 percent.