The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) figures are displayed at a dealing room of a local bank in Seoul, Tuesday. (Yonhap)
South Korean renewed its all-time record for the second straight day Tuesday, backed by investors' optimism for the US Federal Reserve meeting this week. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 6.5 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 3,258.63 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 1.7 billion shares worth some 14.5 trillion won ($13 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 443 to 399.
Foreigners sold a net 154 billion won worth of stocks, while retail investors bought 198 billion won worth. Institutions offloaded a net 43 billion won worth of stocks.
The KOSPI started off with mild gains, tracking record advances on the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 overnight.
Stocks traded in a tight range as investors waited for more clues about when the world's largest economy will start tapering its asset-buying policy. The Federal Open Market Committee rate decision comes Wednesday (US time).
Increased valuation pressure prevented the KOSPI's further gains, fueling investors' moves to lock in profits after the key stock index finished at an all-time high during a three-day winning streak.
Stocks rebounded to positive terrain in the afternoon, largely on advances by tech and chemical shares.
"The 10-year US Treasury yields fell back to the 1.5 percent range, and large growth shares rebounded," HI Investment & Securities analyst Park Sang-hyun said.
"It is unlikely that the Fed will pull a hawkish card in the FOMC meeting," he said.
In Seoul, market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 0.5 percent to 80,900 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix advanced 1.18 percent to 128,500 won.
Internet portal operator Naver closed unchanged at 387,000 won, and its rival Kakao moved up 1.4 percent to 144,500 won. Giant pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics decreased 1.29 percent to 842,000 won.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor declined 0.42 percent to 237,000 won, and leading chemical firm LG Chem shed 0.85 percent to 820,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,117 won against the US dollar, down 0.3 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)