South Korean shares bounced back on Wednesday from the prior session's fall due to upbeat economic indicator at home and abroad that boosted expectations for solid recovery.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 7. 21 points, or 0.37 percent, to close at 1,953.28. Trading volume stood at 247.95 million shares worth 3.76 trillion won (3.54 billion U.S. dollars).
Market sentiment was bolstered as Wall Street ended in positive territory overnight on positive domestic demand data. Retail sales in the United States, excluding the auto sector, increased 0.7 percent in December from a month earlier, beating analysts' expectations of a 0.4 percent gain.
The number of those employed in South Korea expanded 560,000 in December from a year earlier, maintaining the monthly growth trend of more than 500,000 jobs for two straight months.
Retail investors led the market rebound by snapping up a net 50. 4 billion won worth of stocks. It offset sales by institutional investors worth 25.8 billion won. Foreign investors were net sellers for the fourth consecutive day by offloading a net 38 billion won worth of shares.
Large-cap shares ended mixed. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics declined 1.1 percent, and top automaker Hyundai Motor slid 0.4 percent. State-run power provider Korea Electrics Power Corp. dipped 0.4 percent, and the nation's second-biggest carmaker Kia Motors retreated 0.6 percent.
The country's largest web search engine NAVER advanced 3.9 percent, and top life insurer Samsung Life Insurance added 1.1 percent. The nation's No. 1 wireless carrier SK Telecom rose 0.4 percent, and the No. 3 banking group Shinhan Financial Group inched up 0.2 percent.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,062.7 won against the greenback, down 3.6 won from Tuesday'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 gained 0.02 percentage point to 3.66 percent.