Seoul stocks up for 2nd day on hope for Ukraine-Russia peace talks

SEOUL-- South Korean shares closed a tad higher Wednesday, as investors focused on the recent round of Ukraine-Russia peace talks that ended earlier in the day. The Korean won steeply rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index advanced 5.67 points, or 0.21 percent, to close at 2,746.74 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 825 million shares worth some 10.9 trillion won (US$9 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 432 to 416.

Institutions bought a net 160 billion won, while foreigners sold 11 billion won and retail investors offloaded 138 billion won.

Stocks came off to a solid start, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 1.84 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.97 percent, as investors pinned hopes on easing geopolitical tensions amid the Ukraine-Russia peace talks.

"The (latest) peace talks between Russia and Ukraine sent positive signals but was not decisive, which limited the stock gains," said Kiwoom Securities analyst Kim Sae-hun.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics went down 0.43 percent to 69,900 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix gained 0.83 percent to 121,000 won.

Internet portal operator Naver added 1.5 percent to 339,000 won, and leading carmaker Hyundai Motor grew 2.55 percent to 181,000 won. Bio heavyweight Samsung Biologics climbed 1.93 percent to 844,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,209.6 won against the U.S. dollar, sharply up 10.2 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 8.5 basis points to 2.615 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 8.9 basis points to 2.801 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency