South Korean shares rose for two straight days on Tuesday due to positive news from China, the country's largest trading partner.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 10.11 points, or 0.52 percent, to close at 1,963.89. Trading volume stood at 286.3 million shares worth 3.3 trillion won (3.1 billion U.S. dollars).
China's central bank said Tuesday that it injected short-term liquidity into the country's large commercial banks to ensure the stability of its monetary market ahead of the Spring Festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year.
The liquidity injection was made through the Standing Lending Facility (SLF), a tool created by the central bank in early 2013 to provide a large amount of funding to banks when they face a liquidity squeeze. The bank said it will continue to provide short- term liquidity support via reverse repurchase (repo).
The liquidity injection came after the news that China's economy expanded 7.7 percent in 2013 from a year earlier, beating the government's target of 7.5 percent. The economy's fourth- quarter growth stood at 7.7 percent, higher than analysts' forecasts.
The positive data boosted expectations for the 2014 growth of China, the largest-trading partner of South Korea.
Institutional investors purchased a net 69.6 billion won worth of stocks, keeping their buying trend for the fourth consecutive session. Foreign and retail investors sold shares worth 19.8 billion won and 55.2 billion won each.
Auto shares led the market gain as expectations emerged that the Japanese central bank would not unveil further stimulus monetary policy down the road, easing concerns over the weak trend of the Japanese yen.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 2.2 percent, and its affiliate Kia Motors gained 1.6 percent. The nation's biggest auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis climbed 1.9 percent.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose to 1,324,000 won, keeping its upward trend for two straight sessions. Other large- cap stocks, including LG Chem, Hyundai Heavy Industries and SK Telecom, rose more than 1 percent.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,065.3 won against the greenback, down 1.6 won from Monday's close.
Bond prices ended mixed. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes closed unchanged at 2.90 percent, but the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds rose 0.01 percentage point to 3.66 percent.