(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)
SEOUL, Jan. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks rallied Thursday to close above the 3,000-point mark for the first time, backed by strong foreign and institutional buying triggered by U.S. stimulus hopes. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 63.47 points, or 2.14 percent, to close at 3,031.68 points.
Trading volume was very high at about 1.5 billion shares worth around 26.8 trillion won (US$24.6 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 617 to 220.
Institutions net purchased 1 trillion won, while retail investors sold a net 1.2 trillion won. Foreigners bought a net 109 billion won.
The KOSPI sharply rebounded in the morning after taking a breather the previous session on profit-taking.
Analysts attributed the KOSPI's new record finish to foreign and institutional investors, who turned net buyers and broke their selling streak largely on the Democrats' control of the U.S. Senate.
Stocks continued to gain ground amid expectations that the U.S. political paradigm shift would help increase spending to stimulate the world's largest economy and benefit its export-driven trade partners and financial industries.
"With growing expectations of additional stimulus plans in the U.S., robust foreign and institutional buying helped the KOSPI to remain above the 3,000-point plateau," Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics advanced 0.85 percent to 82,900 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix jumped 2.67 percent to a record 134,500 won.
Leading chemical firm LG Chem soared 8.09 percent to 962,000 won, its all-time high. Rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI added 2.65 percent, also refreshing its record closing at 298,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics climbed 0.24 percent to 819,000 won, and Celltrion hiked 1.13 percent to 357,500 won.
Internet portal operator Naver slipped 0.17 percent to 289,500 won, but its rival Kakao moved up 1.77 percent to 402,500 won. Top carmaker Hyundai Motor added 1.48 percent to 206,000 won.
The local currency was trading at 1,087.3 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.7 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 1.1 basis points to 0.964 percent, but the return on the benchmark five-year government bond slipped 0.1 basis point to 1.321 percent.