S.Korean stocks hit all-time closing high

SEOUL, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) — South Korean stocks hit an all-time closing high on Wednesday owing to renewed hope for an additional COVID-19 stimulus package in the United States.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 14.97 points, or 0.54 percent, to settle at 2,771.79. Trading volume stood at 1.15 billion shares worth 13.3 trillion won (12.2 billion U.S. dollars).

The KOSPI started 0.25 percent higher and moved in positive territory throughout the session, topping the previous closing high of 2,770.06 tallied on Nov. 11.

Local financial institutions bought stocks on hope for U.S. stimulus package. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.13 percent overnight, and the S&P 500 gained 1.29 percent.

Foreign investors remained net buyers for five straight trading days on rising worry about the COVID-19 resurgence here.

In the latest tally, the country reported 1,078 more cases of COVID-19 for the past 24 hours, lifting the total number of infections to 45,442. It was the highest daily caseload, surpassing the previous high of 1,030 tallied on Sunday.

Among large-cap shares, gainers outnumbered decliners. Leading chemical firm LG Chem jumped 2.3 percent, and Samsung BioLogics, a pharmaceutical unit of Samsung Group, added 0.9 percent. The most-used search engine Naver rose 0.9 percent, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI advanced 2.2 percent.

The biggest carmaker Hyundai Motor climbed 0.8 percent, but biopharmaceutical behemoth Celltrion declined 1.8 percent. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics and memory chip giant SK hynix were unchanged compared to the previous close.

The small-cap KOSDAQ went up 8.38 points, or 0.90 percent, to close at 939.65.

The local currency finished at 1,094.0 won versus the greenback, down 0.7 won from the previous close. The South Korean currency continued to fall for five straight sessions on demand to lock in recent profits from investment in the currency.

Bond prices ended lower. Yields on the liquid three-year treasury notes rose 0.5 basis points to 0.989 percent, and the return on the 10-year government bonds was up 2.1 basis points to 1.692 percent.

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