South Korean stocks rose 0.46 percent Monday on the market outlook that the U.S. Federal Reserve may maintain its economic stimulus measures down the road, analysts said. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 8.85 points, or 0.46 percent, to close at 1,932.70. Trading volume was low at 268.1 million shares worth 3.67 trillion won (US$3.27 billion) with gainers outpacing losers 533 to 296.
"Seoul shares gathered ground on the back of market outlook that the U.S. will maintain its quantitative easing measures, recouping its earlier losses made in the previous trading session," said Kang Hyun-gie, a researcher at I'M Investment & Securities Co.
South Korean stocks sank nearly 2 percent Friday, as Samsung Electronics sharply fell following a global appraiser's negative outlook on the company.
The decline came as Fitch Ratings Co. said in its latest report that there is a low chance that it will raise Samsung Electronics' credit rating to any higher than the current "A+," adding the firm's profitability will also fall due to strong competition in the global market.
The top firm listed on the main bourse by market capitalization plunged 6.18 percent to 1,427,000 won on Friday, the lowest since Feb. 6. The decline was feared to continue to weigh down on investors' sentiment.
"However, the growth was limited due to a gloomy outlook over the economic growth of major countries," Kang added. "The stock market will continue to fluctuate down the road as investors are divided over the two factors."
Foreigners dumped 326.4 billion won worth of local equities. In contrast, retail and institutional investors bought a net 193.7 billion won and 111.9 billion won worth of stocks, respectively.
Tech shares closed higher, with top chipmaker SK hynix rising 4.98 percent to 32,650 won and leading flat panel manufacturer LG Display adding 3.27 percent to 31,550 won.
Mobile carriers also traded bullish, with leading SK Telecom rising 2.18 percent to 211,000 won and KT advancing 1.33 percent to 38,150 won. LG Uplus, the smallest player, climbed 2.2 percent to 11,600 won.
Hyundai Merchant Marine, the No. 1 shareholder of Hyundai Asan, the operator of South Korean tours to the North's Mount Kumgang, increased by its daily permissible limit of 14.9 percent to 14,650 won.
South and North Korea came to an agreement Monday to hold an official government meeting between "responsible authorities" in Seoul later this week with the aim of resolving pressing inter-Korean issues that can help build mutual trust and ease uncertainties on the Korean Peninsula.
In contrast, carmakers lost ground, with No. 1 Hyundai Motor falling 0.96 percent to 206,000 won and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors losing 0.68 percent to 58,600 won. Top auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis shed 1.65 percent to 267,500 won.
The local currency ended at 1,127.30 won against the greenback, down 10.20 won from Friday's close, mainly due to the heightened hope over the U.S. economic recovery, dealers said. (Yonhap News)