South Korean shares surged Friday to the highest in around nine months on the back of hopes that Washington would soon settle the fiscal deadlock over the debt ceiling negotiations.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 23. 5 points, or 1.17 percent, to close at 2,024.90, the highest since Feb. 20. Trading volume stood at 251.12 million shares worth 4.49 trillion won (4.19 billion U.S. dollars).
Investors cheered the high likelihood for a temporary debt ceiling hike in the United States. Republicans planned to offer a temporary, short-term debt limit increase to negotiate with Democrats, a major breakthrough to resolve the fiscal impasse that has resulted in the partial shutdown of the U.S. government.
Foreign investors kept their buying trend for 31 straight sessions, the longest winning streak since 1999 when the Korea Exchange began to compile related data. Foreigners bought a net 163.1 billion won worth of shares.
Institutional investors raised their holdings of stocks by 123. 7 billion won, the first purchase in 23 sessions. Retail investors sold a net 277.1 billion won worth of stocks in a bid to lock in profits.
Most large-cap shares rose sharply. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.9 percent, and leading banking group KB Financial Group surged 6 percent. Other large-cap shares, including LG Electronics, SK Innovation, LG Chem and Hyundai Heavy Industries, gained more than 2 percent.
The country's No.1 mobile operator SK Telecom ended unchanged and the nation's second-biggest carmaker Kia Motors slid 0.6 percent.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,071.4 won against the greenback, up 2.2 won from Thursday's close.
Bond prices ended higher. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes fell 0.01 percentage point to 2.86 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds lost 0.01 percentage point to 3.50 percent.