SEOUL, March 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks rallied for the second day in a row on Wednesday as investor sentiment improved on the back of stimulus measures around the globe to tackle the economic fallout from the new coronavirus pandemic. The Korean won sharply rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) soared 94.79 points, or 5.89 percent, to close at 1,704.76, extending gains from the previous session. On Tuesday, the index spiked 8.6 percent, its sharpest daily increase since Oct. 30, 2008.
It was also the first time since March 16 that the index had closed above the 1,700-level.
Trading volume was high at 852 million shares worth 12.4 trillion won (US$10 billion), with gainers far outpacing losers 872 to 33.
The index got off to a solid start, following a record rally on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Tuesday skyrocketed 11.4 percent to close at 20,704.91, its biggest one-day gain since 1933, on hopes of a massive U.S. stimulus package.
The index received a further boost in the afternoon and touched as high as 1,709.45 following the news that U.S. Senate leaders and the White House have reached an agreement to pass an estimated US$2 trillion rescue package.
"It appears that expectations of the U.S. passing a massive stimulus bill boosted risk appetite," said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. "Also with the rising possibility of the Asian supply network returning to its normal level, the local market reacted positively."
Analysts said investor sentiment also improved after finance ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies vowed to restore economic growth in the face of the pandemic.
Foreigners extended their selling streak to a 15th consecutive session, offloading 333 billion won worth of stocks on the main bourse. Institutions dumped a net 105 billion won, while retail investors scooped up a net 451 billion won.
Large-caps were bullish across the board.
Top market cap Samsung Electronics moved up 3.62 percent to 48,650 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix advanced 7.37 percent to 84,500 won.
No. 1 carmaker Hyundai Motor spiked 12.97 percent to 84,500 won, and its auto parts arm Hyundai Mobis skyrocketed 17.3 percent to 169,500 won. Kia Motors added 8.87 percent to reach 25,150 won.
However, pharmaceutical firms were in negative terrain, with Samsung BioLogics falling 0.21 percent to 475,000 won and Celltrion dropping 0.54 percent to 183,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,229.90 won against the U.S. dollar, sharply up 19.7 won from the previous session's close.
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