South Korean shares rose on Monday, trimming earlier losses, due to the US Federal Reserve's decision to maintain its bond purchasing program, but the gain was limited amid lingering concerns that the reduction in the US monetary stimulus would begin within this year.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 3. 83 points, or 0.19 percent, to close at 2,009.41. Trading volume stood at 244.44 million shares worth 4.9 trillion won (4.56 billion US dollars).
The Fed decided last week to maintain its asset purchases, easing market fears that the US central bank might scale back 85 billion dollars in its monthly bond purchases as early as September.
Foreign investors kept their buying streak for 19 straight sessions by purchasing a net 299 billion won worth of local stocks. Foreigners mainly bought auto and shipbuilding stocks along with tech and chemical shares.
However, the KOSPI showed a limited gain on the back of remaining worries about the Fed's tapering within this year. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said in an interview with Bloomberg on Friday that "no taper" was a close decision in the Fed September meeting and a small reduction in Fed 's monetary stimulus is possible in October meeting.
Institutional investors sold stocks worth 255 billion won, and retail investors offloaded a net 45 billion won worth of shares.
Large-cap shares ended mixed. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics declined 1.9 percent on concerns that its third- quarter earnings would fall on the local currency's appreciation against the dollar that will reduce repatriated earnings from overseas. Top automaker Hyundai Motor slid 0.6 percent, and top steelmaker POSCO ended in negative territory.
The nation's biggest auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis rose 1 percent, and other stocks, including LG Chem, Samsung Life Insurance and KB Financial Group, closed bullish. The world's largest shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy industries gained more than 2 percent, and the web search engine giant NAVER jumped over 3 percent.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,073.8 won against the greenback, up 10.3 won from Tuesday's close. The country's financial markets were closed for three days from last Wednesday for the Chuseok holiday.
Bond prices ended higher. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes dropped 0.05 percentage point to 2.80 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds slid 0.07 percentage point to 3.40 percent.