(ATTN: ADDS more details and bond yields at bottom)
SEOUL, March 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares inched up on Monday as upbeat jobs data from the United States and a rebound in global oil prices improved investor sentiment here, analysts said. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 2.24 points, or 0.11 percent, to finish at 1,957.87. Trading volume was moderate at 340 million shares worth 4.6 trillion won (US$3.83 billion), with gainers beating losers 462 to 358.
U.S. non-farm payrolls increased 242,000 jobs last month, far higher than market forecasts of 190,000 new jobs, data showed Friday, easing concerns that the world's No. 1 economy could relapse into a recession.
Analysts said investors should digest key economic events this week, including the European Central Bank's meeting slated for Thursday.
"Market players are also growingly expecting the U.S. Fed to keep the rates at the current level, which could help the local stock market continue its upward march," said Park Suk-hyun, an analyst at Eugine Investment & Securities.
Foreigners continued to scoop up local stocks by purchasing a net 201 billion won, while retail investors and institutions offloaded a net 55 billion won and 197 billion won, respectively.
Financials, oil refiners and chemical stocks led the overall market gain.
Market behemoth Samsung Electronics rose 0.66 percent to end at 1,223,000 won, with global chipmaker SK hynix closing flat at 31,900 won.
Steelmakers traded bullish, with No. 1 POSCO closing flat at 217,500 won and Hyundai Steel moving up 0.53 percent to 57,200 won.
Carmakers closed mixed, with top player Hyundai Motor shedding 0.68 percent to end at 146,500 won and Kia Motors rising 0.42 percent to 47,300 won.
LG Chem, the country's top chemicals firm, advanced 0.5 percent to finish at 299,500 won, and SK Innovation, the No. 1 oil refiner, jumped 4.68 percent to end at 156,500 won.
Shinhan Financial Group, a major banking group, gained 1.66 percent to end at 39,800 won, and KB Financial also rose 1.1 percent to finish at 32,150 won.
The local currency closed at 1,201.40 won against the greenback, up 2 won from the previous session's close, extending its winning streak to a sixth day.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys shed 0.8 basis point to 1.502 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond also fell 1.5 basis points to 1.616 percent.
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