Seoul shares ended higher on gains in automakers and battery makers on Wednesday, with investors eyeing the fallout from US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan amid global recession worries. The South Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 21.83 points, or 0.89 percent, to close at 2,461.45 points.
Trading volume was moderate at 463.71 million shares worth 6.6 trillion won ($5.03 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 576 to 266.
Foreigners bought a net 474 billion won worth of stocks, offsetting institutions and individuals' combined selling valued at 476 billion won.
Since early this week, China has suspended imports of some Taiwanese products in a warning against Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. China views Taiwan as part of its territory.
"Investors were concerned about escalating conflict (between China and the US) over Pelosi's trip to Taiwan. But there was no such clash, so investors appear to have been relieved a bit," No Dong-kil, an analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp., said.
But US-China tensions over Pelosi's trip remains a factor weighing on investor sentiment already spooked by a possible global slowdown and surging inflation, he said.
In Seoul, large-cap stocks closed mixed.
Top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. rose 0.3 percent to 197,000 won, national flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co. climbed 0.4 percent to 25,100 won, and leading car battery maker LG Energy Solution gained 4.8 percent to 437,000 won.
Among decliners, market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. fell 0.7 percent to 61,300 won, and the country's sole aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries Co. declined 0.9 percent to 57,700 won.
The local currency was trading at 1,310.30 won against the US dollar, down 5.60 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)