(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)
SEOUL, April 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed nearly flat Friday as a recovery in global oil prices boosted investor sentiment against the new coronavirus pandemic. The local currency dropped against the U.S. dollar.
After choppy trading, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 0.58 point, or 0.03 percent, to close at 1,725.44. Trading volume was high at some 986 million shares worth a little over 1 trillion won (US$811 million), with gainers outnumbering losers 506 to 328.
The index got off to a solid start, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street helped by a sharp rise in global oil prices.
U.S. President Donald Trump said he was seeking to broker a deal between Saudi Arabia and Russia to have their combined crude production reduced by up to 15 million barrels per day, which would account for more than 10 percent of daily global output.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average spiked 2.24 percent to close at 21,413.44 on Thursday (local time).
Analysts here said whether the U.S. efforts would actually lead to a cut in output remain to be seen.
"The possibility of a production cut still remains low," said KB Securities analyst Kim Il-hyeok.
"Russia too wants an output cut but is not actively seeking discussion with Saudi Arabia. Also, the participation of other major oil producing countries, demanded by Saudi Arabia, may take time before it can be realized," Kim added.
In Seoul, foreign investors dumped a net 289 billion won, extending their selling streak to a 22nd session. Retail investors scooped up a net 349.5 billion won, while institutions net sold 82.7 billion won.
Large caps closed mixed.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 0.43 percent to 47,000 won, but No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix slipped 0.5 percent to 79,600 won.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor shed 0.35 percent to 86,300, while leading cosmetics maker LG Household & Health Care spiked 2.56 percent to 164,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,230.90 won per dollar, down 2.6 won from the previous session.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys gained 0.7 basis point to 1.066 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 2.6 basis points to 1.329 percent.
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