South Korean stocks rose 0.2 percent on Tuesday, buoyed by automakers, but gains were limited as investors stepped to the sidelines ahead of major events, analysts said Tuesday. The local currency gained against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 3.92 points to 1,985.83. Trading volume was moderate at 339.9 million shares worth 2.8 trillion won (US$2.6 billion), with gainers outnumbering decliners 435 to 366.
"Investors refrained from trading ahead of Italy's election later this week. The U.S. sequester issue is also weighing on sentiment," said Kim Young-jun, an analyst at SK Securities Co.
"Until those events shape up, the KOSPI is likely to trade in a narrow range," Kim said.
Despite lackluster sentiment, autos fueled the KOSPI. The country's No. 2 carmaker Kia Motors jumped 2.29 percent to 53,700 won and its parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis rose 1.01 percent to 300,000 won.
Major shipbuilders ended higher on anticipation of a recovery in the global shipbuilding industry, with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering gaining 2.35 percent to 30,500 won.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics also closed on positive territory, inching up 0.13 percent to 1,492,000 won.
In contrast, mobile carriers dragged on the KOSPI, with top fixed line and No. 2 mobile operator KT falling 1.27 percent to 35,050 won.
Retailers also ended lower, with discount chain operator E-mart losing 1.94 percent to 227,500 won.
The local currency ended at 1,081.2 won against the greenback, up 0.9 won from Monday's close, following a 3.8 won fall in the previous session, dealers said. (Yonhap News)