South Koreanshares inched up on Monday thanks to bargain hunting from last week's decline, but the rise was limited as foreigners continued to sell local shares amid concerns over the third quarter corporate earnings.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 1,891.52, up 0.09 points. Trading volume stood at 366.42 million shares worth 4.12 trillion won (3.76 billion U.S. dollars).
The KOSPI started higher as institutional investors hunted for bargains following last week's decline, but the index trimmed its earlier gains mostly to manage to end slightly up as foreign investors kept its selling spree amid concerns over the corporate earnings.
Weak corporate earnings in the U.S. boosted worries about earnings for local companies. Apple reported a second straight quarter of disappoint earnings results for the third quarter, and Amazon.com, the world's largest online retailer, posted its first quarterly next loss since 2003.
Underperformance in the corporate sector eclipse better-than- expected economic data. The U.S. economy grew at a 2.0 percent annual rate in the third quarter, beating expectations. The final reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment for the U.S. rose to 82.6 in October, the highest in five years.
Institutional investors bought shares worth 244.3 billion won, but foreigners blocked the KOSPI from rising further by selling a net 132.1 billion won worth of local stocks. Foreigners maintained their selling streak for seven straight sessions. Retail investors were also net sellers worth 122.3 billion won worth of stocks.
Large-cap shares ended mixed. Maret bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.9 percent to 1,299,000 won, and top steelmaker POSCO gained 0.7 percent to 344,500 won. Leading display maker LG Display surged 7.6 percent after announcing positive earnings for the third quarter, and LG Electronics advanced 2.7 percent to 75, 000 won.
Leading chemical firm LG Chem added 0.7 percent to 290,500 won, but the nation's No.1 carmaker Hyundai Motor declined 3.1 percent to 219,500 won. Kia Motors tumbled 4 percent to 59,800 won, and the country's largest auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis slid 2.9 percent to 269,000 won.
The local currency finished at 1,095.8 won against the greenback, up 1.2 won from Friday's close.
Bond prices ended lower. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes added 0.01 percentage point to 2.79 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds rose 0.01 percentage point to 2.87 percent.