Korean shares finished higher on Feb. 19 as institutional and foreign investors scooped up local large-cap shares, taking a cue from overnight gains on Wall Street, analysts said. The Korean won gained against the US dollar.
The benchmark KOSPI climbed 20.99 points, or 0.87 percent, to reach 2.442.82. Trade volume was slim at 245.2 million shares worth 3.19 trillion won (US$2.998 billion), with advancers far outnumbering losers 645 to 181.
“Local stocks are forecast to maintain upward momentum on the back of gains on major global stock markets,” said Kim Byung-yeon, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities Co.
Large-cap stocks had a mixed day, with insurance and bio shares leading the gains.
Major bio company Celltrion, added 1.28 percent to 316,500 won.
Tech stocks also ended on a mixed note, with top cap Samsung Electronics ending at 2,419,000 won, down 1.27 percent from the previous session‘s close to end a three-day winning streak. Global chipmaker SK hynix lost 1.42 percent to 76,500 won. Samsung’s smaller local rival LG Electronics, meanwhile, moved up 5.45 percent to 102,500 won.
Auto shares also experienced mixed trading, with leading automaker Hyundai Motor adding 0.32 percent to 155,000 won and its sister company, Kia Motors, gaining 1.53 percent at 331,100 won.
Hyundai Mobis, Korea’s largest auto parts maker, meanwhile, lost 0.45 percent to 223,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,067.60 won against the US dollar, up 9.60 won from the previous close.
By Song Seung-hyun and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org