South Korean stocks closed higher Thursday on strong gains by 'untact' businesses prompted by fears over a prolonged pandemic, analysts said. The Korean won stayed flat.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 9.02 points, or 0.42 percent, to close at 2,167.90. Trading volume was moderate at about 609 million shares worth some 12.8 trillion won ($10.7 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 421 to 417.
Foreigners sold a net 33 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 316 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 258 billion won.
"Untact business shares are expected to fly high due to possibilities that the COVID-19 pandemic may remain uncontained for a long time," Daeshin Securities analyst Lee Min-ah said.
Kakao, the operator of mobile messenger app Kakao Talk, spiked 8.38 percent, setting a new record at 355,500 won. Internet giant Naver added 1.77 percent to 287,500 won.
South Korea added 50 new COVID-19 infections Thursday, marking a steady decline since Sunday when it confirmed more than 60 cases for a third consecutive day.
Tech share rallies have recently become a global phenomenon, analysts note.
Despite a new daily record number of virus cases in the US, the tech-laden NASDAQ Composite advanced 1.44 percent to close at a fresh record high of 10,492.50 on Wednesday (New York time).
Large caps closed mixed in Seoul.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics shed 0.38 percent to 52,800 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix dipped 0.84 percent to 83,000 won.
Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics rose 0.68 percent to 741,000 won, with Celltrion surging 4.01 percent to 324,500 won.
Leading automaker Hyundai Motor stayed flat at 99,600 won while leading chemical maker LG Chem spiked 5.07 percent to 539,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,195.50 won against the US greenback, unchanged from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 0.1 basis point to 0.840 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond gained 1.1 basis points to 1.116 percent. (Yonhap)