South Korean shares ended higher for the second straight session Friday on improved investor sentiment over the United States' latest stimulus effort meant to minimize the economic fallout from the new coronavirus. The Korean won sharply rose against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 24.46 points, or 1.33 percent, to 1,860.67.
Huh Jae-hwan, a strategist at Eugene Investment Co., said the US Federal Reserve's provision of liquidity programs that also include junk bonds improved investor sentiment.
The Fed unveiled programs worth $2.3 trillion to help the world's No. 1 economy hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Huh also said expectations for the slowing spread of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed up the main index.
Individuals bought a net 253.8 billion won ($209 million) worth of stocks, offsetting combined sell-offs valued at 263.8 billion won by foreigners and institutions. Foreigners continued to offload local stocks for the 27th consecutive session Friday.
In Seoul, most large-cap stocks traded mixed across the board.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. rose 0.31 percent to 49,250 won, and leading pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics surged 16.82 percent to 559,000 won on news that it has clinched a $362 million deal to manufacture US drug firm Vir Biotechnology's candidate COVID-19 treatment.
Among decliners, South Korea's second-largest chipmaker, SK hynix Inc., was down 1.06 percent to 84,100 won, and South Korea's top online portal operator Naver fell 0.60 percent to 166,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,208.80 won against the US dollar, up 10.70 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 1.6 basis points to 0.970 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond shed 0.8 basis point to 1.194 percent. (Yonhap)