SEOUL, Aug. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares closed a tad higher Thursday, extending gains to a ninth session on institutional and individual buying. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 5.18 points, or 0.21 percent, to close at 2,437.53.
Trading volume was high at about 892 million shares worth some 18 trillion won (US$15.2 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 481 to 359.
The index came to a strong start but erased most of the gains on strong foreign sell-off. Foreigners dumped a net 352 billion won on profit-taking, the largest amount since July 7.
Retail investors purchased a net 157 billion won, and institutions bought a net 186 billion won.
Analysts said the KOSPI continued to rally in the past nine straight sessions as retail buying offset foreign selling
"The money move generated by individual investors has become a significant force in the financial markets," Hana Financial Investment analyst Kim Yong-koo said.
Rising hopes for new coronavirus vaccines also boosted investor sentiment.
Clinical trials on three locally developed vaccine candidate materials for COVID-19 are expected to start within this year, South Korean health authorities said.
Most large caps closed lower.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.51 percent to 58,700 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix retreated 0.37 percent to 80,700 won.
Leading chemical maker LG Chem shed 0.54 percent to 737,000 won.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor dipped 1.16 percent to 170,000 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors dropped 0.77 percent to 44,900 won.
Among gainers, giant drugmaker Celltrion spiked 2.15 percent to 308,500 won, as the company began selling COVID-19 diagnostic kits in the United States.
Top game publisher NCSOFT surged 5.53 percent to 897,000 won on estimate-beating quarterly earnings.
Internet portal giant Naver climbed 0.66 percent to 307,000 won, and its rival Kakao added 1.84 percent to 360,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,183.30 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.0 won from the previous session's close.
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