Published : 2013-01-18 15:40
Updated : 2013-01-18 15:40
South Korean stocks closed 0.69 percent higher Friday as the fourth-quarter growth in China raised anticipations that the slowdown in Asia's largest economy has bottomed out, analysts said. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) advanced 13.59 points to finish at 1,987.86. Trading volume was heavy at 575.9 million shares worth 3.83 trillion won (US$3.63 billion) with gainers outpacing decliners 544 to 242.
"It can be interpreted as a signal that the Chinese economy is on a recovery path," said Han Beom-ho, an analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp.
But the KOSPI's gain was capped as China's growth data have been widely forecast to meet the consensus, Han said. The country logged a 7.9 percent on-year expansion for the last three months of 2012, slightly beating the initial outlook of 7.8 percent.
Also, net selling led by retail and institutional investors weighed down the main index. They dumped a net 179.3 billion won and 120.9 billion won, respectively.
But foreigners snapped their six-day selling spree to buy a net 31.7 billion won.
Most shares finished up, with those of insurance firms and brokerage houses leading the gain. No. 1 life insurer Samsung Life Insurance spiked 5.45 percent to 106,500 won, with leading brokerage firm Woori Investment & Securities hiking 5.65 percent to 12,050 won.
Tech heavyweight Samsung Electronics rebounded after a three-day losing streak totaling 5.35 percent, climbing 0.75 percent to 1,480,000 won.
Buoyed by expectations on China's recovery, major export-related companies gained ground. Leading steelmaker POSCO rose 0.42 percent to 357,000 won and Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world's largest shipyard, added 0.66 percent to 229,000 won.
In contrast, auto issues and airlines fell, with smaller player Kia Motors sliding 1.45 percent to 54,200 won and leading air carrier Korean Air Lines shedding 0.87 percent to 45,600 won.
The local currency ended at 1,057.20 won against the greenback, up 0.9 won from Thursday's close, following the South Korean central bank chief's remarks on a possible shift in monetary easing policy by major economies, dealers said. (Yonhap News)