Seoul Stocks Extend Gains on Institutional and Foreign Investment

SEOUL—The South Korean stock market closed higher for the third consecutive trading session on Monday, driven by institutional and foreign investors' purchases in the technology, biotechnology, and other blue-chip sectors. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) increased by 22.09 points, or 0.89 percent, to close at 2,500.65, marking a continuation of its upward trajectory. According to trade data, the volume of shares traded was moderate, with 421.5 million shares valued at approximately 8.85 trillion won (US$6.62 billion) changing hands. The market saw more gainers than losers, with 523 stocks advancing compared to 361 that declined.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Institutions and foreign investors were net buyers, purchasing a combined total of 769 billion won worth of stocks, which helped offset the selling by individual investors amounting to 728 billion won. Analysts noted the influence of major companies on the market's performance. "Local shares seem to have been buoyed by gains made by market heavyweights amid a lack of particular upward momentum leads during the session," stated Yang Hae-jung from DS Investment and Securities. Mirae Asset Securities analyst Kim Seok-hwan suggested that investors might adopt a cautious approach in the days ahead, particularly with the upcoming U.S. Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

Most blue-chip stocks ended the day positively. Samsung Electronics saw a 1.36 percent increase to 74,400 won, and LG Electronics experienced a slight rise of 0.86 percent to 94,300 won. The biotech sector also enjoyed gains, buoyed by legislative developments in the United States that could limit Chinese genomic companies' operations, boosting investor sentiment towards local biotech firms. Samsung Biologics and SK Biopharmaceuticals saw their stock prices increase by 3.49 percent to 800,000 won and 6.70 percent to 93,900 won, respectively.

The automotive and energy sectors reported advances as well, with Hyundai Motor and Kia experiencing increases of 4.43 percent and 5.83 percent, reaching 195,600 won and 99,900 won, respectively. SK Innovation also saw a 3.89 percent rise, closing at 120,300 won. The gaming industry received a boost following Krafton's announcement of higher-than-expected estimated earnings for the fourth quarter, leading to a 0.95 percent increase in its shares to 212,500 won, while Netmarble surged by 4.49 percent to 59,200 won.

The Korean won appreciated against the U.S. dollar, ending the session at 1,335.70 won, a 0.6 won increase from the previous close.

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