SEOUL, April 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares opened higher Friday amid growing expectations that the United States and China will reach a trade agreement.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 7.29 points, or 0.33 percent, to 2,213.82 in the first 15 minutes of trading.
Investor sentiment was buoyed on reports that the U.S. and China are edging towards an agreement to end a long-running row. High-level talks between the world's top two economies resumed Wednesday in Washington and are under way.
Foreigners and institutions bought a combined 19 billion won (US$17 million) worth of stocks, offsetting stock selling worth 18 billion won by individuals.
Tech, auto and steel stocks led gains, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. rising 0.43 percent, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. climbing 1.21 percent and leading steelmaker POSCO gaining 1.29 percent.
Among decliners, national flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co. fell 0.31 percent and state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp. shed 1.16 percent.
The Korean won was trading at 1,135.80 won against the U.S. dollar, up 0.50 won from the previous session's close.
BOK stands pat, but analysts divided on chance of rate cut
Samsung BioLogics case to affect market, delisting unlikely: experts
October rout worst setback for S. Korean bourse in decade
Deregulation brightens prospects for Internet-only banks
Fat-finger fiasco penalty to have long-term impacts on Samsung Securities: experts