(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)
SEOUL, Aug. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares rallied Thursday, extending a winning streak to a fourth consecutive session, thanks to ample economic rebound hopes in financial markets and better-than-expected quarterly earnings by leading stocks. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 30.75 points, or 1.33 percent, to close at 2,342.61.
The closing marks the highest since 2,343.07 points on Sept. 28, 2018.
Trading volume was high at about 785 million shares worth some 17.6 trillion won (US$14.9 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 512 to 337.
Foreigners bought a net 162 billion won, snapping a four-session selling streak, while retail investors sold a net 89 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 75 billion won.
The market continued its bullish run after closing at a nearly two-year high in the previous session.
Investor sentiment remained high despite nationwide downpours and concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
Stocks lifted over rosy expectations that the U.S. stimulus package is nearing an accord, in addition to improvements in economic indexes in major economies.
"But later, (South Korean stock) markets trimmed part of that gains, as the U.S.-China political tensions extended losses in Chinese stock markets," Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities Co., said.
Estimate-beating quarterly earnings by KOSPI heavyweights Kakao and SK Telecom also fueled market optimism that Asia's fourth-largest economy may have passed the worst part of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kakao retreated 1.75 percent to 364,000 won, and SK Telecom dipped 2.86 percent to 220,500 won on investors' profit-taking drive.
Top cap Samsung Electronics fared bullish, as the company unveiled three new models of smartphones. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 1.93 percent to 58,000 won.
Most other large caps traded higher.
The country's second-largest chipmaker, SK hynix, climbed 0.50 percent to 81,100 won.
Leading chemical maker LG Chem hiked 1.49 percent to 680,000 won, and top steelmaker POSCO leaped 3.61 percent 201,000 won.
Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, spiked 7.84 percent to 144,500 won, with its smaller affiliate Kia Motors jumping 2.55 percent to 42,150 won.
Internet portal giant Naver rose 2.71 percent to 322,000 won.
Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics fell 1.14 percent to 778,000 won, and Celltrion dropped 1.27 percent to 311,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,183.50 won against the U.S. dollar, up 5.30 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 1.2 basis points to 0.807 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 0.8 basis point to 1.053 percent.
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