South Korean stocks ended markedly higher Friday to extend their winning streak to a fourth session as investors pinned hopes on a turnaround in the global semiconductor sector amid eased fears over the global banking turmoil. The local currency fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index added 23.7 points, or 0.97 percent, to close at 2,476.86. Trading volume was a bit heavy at 705.36 million shares worth 12.51 trillion won ($9.62 billion), with gainers outpacing decliners 480 to 407.
Foreign and institutional investors bought a net 517.3 billion won and 207.16 billion won worth of shares, respectively, while retail investors sold a net 721.12 billion won worth of shares.
The index opened higher, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street, and maintained the momentum throughout the session.
"Investors digest the global banking sector turmoil, and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index rose 1.62 percent to raise optimism about a turnaround," Kiwoom Securities analyst Han Ji-young said. "The passage of the K-Chips Act will also serve as a positive factor for the domestic tech sector."
On Thursday, the National Assembly passed the act, which calls for expanding the tax credit rate for facility investment by chipmakers and other national strategic sectors.
The semiconductor index hit the highest level in nearly a year Thursday on growing hopes for surging demand for artificial intelligence technology, according to foreign media reports.
Analysts also pointed to budding signs of a recovery in the Chinese economy, as China's Premier Li Qiang noted his nation's economy has gained momentum for a rebound.
Investors now await the release of the US' core personal consumption expenditures price index, key inflation data, Friday (local time) in order to gauge the Federal Reserve's monetary policy path.
In Seoul, most big-cap shares gathered ground, with tech and steel shares leading the upturn of the index.
Samsung Electronics jumped 1.27 percent to 64,000 won, while chip giant SK hynix inched down 0.23 percent to 88,600 won on profit-taking.
Samsung SDI advanced 1.94 percent to 735,000 won, and LG Chem increased 2.3 percent to 712,000 won. But leading battery maker LG Energy Solution shed 0.68 percent to 584,000 won following recent sharp gains.
Carmakers rose, with top automaker Hyundai Motor adding 1.82 percent to 184,500 won and its affiliate Kia surging 2.02 percent to 81,000 won.
No. 1 steelmaker Posco Holdings soared 8.39 percent to 368,000 won, and POSCO Chemical went up 4.21 percent to 272,500 won.
Major bio shares also gathered ground. Samsung Biologics grew 0.77 percent to 788,000 won, and Celltrion rose 0.81 percent to 149,800 won.
Internet giant Naver increased 0.5 percent to 202,000 won, and Kakao, the operator of the popular mobile messenger KakaoTalk, went up 1.66 percent to 61,100 won.
The local currency ended at 1,301.9 won against the US dollar, down 2.9 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)