(LEAD) Seoul shares end higher on institutional, foreign buying

SEOUL, – South Korean shares ended slightly higher Thursday as foreign investors and institutions snapped up shares following a two-day losing streak. The local currency rose against the greenback.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 5.46 points, or 0.23 percent, to close at 2,427.08.

Trading volume was moderate at 388.8 million shares worth 7.13 trillion won (US$5.44 billion). Losers, however, outnumbered gainers 444 to 432.

The KOSPI remained in negative terrain in the morning session with mixed overnight results on Wall Street. After choppy trading, the benchmark index rebounded on institutional buying and as foreign investors, who unloaded shares earlier in the session, turned to net buyers.

“The local stock market appears to be in a mixed state of reactionary buying and a wait-and-see mode ahead of next week’s scheduled announcement of the latest consumer price data in the U.S.,” Choi Yoo-joon, an analyst at Shinhan Securities, said.

Key blue chip stocks ended with mixed results, with chip shares adding ground while battery makers suffered losses. Tech behemoth Samsung Electronics added 0.57 percent to end at 70,300 won and top battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution fell 1.94 percent to 429,000 won.

Refiners fared worse, with industry leader SK Innovation slumping 2.16 percent to 136,000 won, but air carriers advanced, with Korean Air soaring 4.09 percent to 21,650 won and its smaller rival Asiana Airlines rising 2.34 percent to 10,490 won.

Leading online portal operators Naver and Kakao also gained ground, rising 0.41 percent to 198,200 won and 3.75 percent to 45,600 won, respectively.

The local currency ended at 1,310.10 won against the U.S. dollar, up 0.50 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 2.1 basis points to 3.847 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds dropped 4.3 basis points to 3.886 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency