South Korean shares ended higher Monday on expectations that last week's rate cuts in China would boost the world's second-largest economy, the No.1 trading partner of South Korea.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) advanced 13.7 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,978.54 at the close. Trading volume stood at 322.59 million shares worth 5.48 trillion won (4.93 billion U.S. dollars).
The People's Bank of China (PBOC) cut the benchmark rate for one-year deposits by 25 basis points, or a quarter percentage point to 2.75 percent and the one-year lending rate by 40 basis points to 5.6 percent last week, the first alteration in more than two years.
The rate cuts to reduce financing costs in the private sector boosted expectations for China's economic recovery.
Steel and oil-refining firms, which rely heavily on China for overseas sales, gained ground. The biggest steelmaker POSCO jumped 6.2 percent, and top oil refiner SK Innovation surged 10.8 percent.
Brokerage shares ended up on speculation over higher local stocks after the monetary easing in China. Samsung Securities and Hyundai Securities advanced more than 4 percent, and Daewoo securities climbed 3.1 percent.
Expectations for an expanded asset-buying program in Europe bolstered market sentiment. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said last week that policy makers will prop up inflation expectations as quickly as possible.
Expectations are also running high for the year-end shopping season in the United States, which is expected to turn the balance sheet of American companies from the red to the black during the big discount-sale period.
Foreign and institutional investors bought stocks worth 328.8 billion won and 94.9 billion won respectively, while retail investors sold shares worth 426.1 billion won to lock in recent profits.
Large-cap shares ended mixed. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics slid 0.3 percent, and the state-run power supplier Korea Electric Power Corp. declined 3.5 percent. Naver, the owner of the most-used search engine, fell 1.7 percent, but top automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 3.9 percent. Memory chip giant SK Hynix rose 1.4 percent, and the biggest auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis climbed 3.4 percent.
The South Korean currency closed at 1,112.3 won against the greenback, up 1.5 won from Friday's close.
Bond prices ended higher. Yields on the liquid three-year treasury notes slid 4.0 basis points to 2.121, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds declined 4.3 basis points to 2.682 percent. Enditem