SEOUL, May 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed higher Tuesday, rebounding from a decline the previous session, on bargain hunting for tech and semiconductor shares. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) advanced 38.53 points, or 1.23 percent, to 3,173.05.
Trading volume was moderate at 774.38 million shares worth some 13.71 trillion won (US$12.07 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 571 to 279.
Foreigners sold a net 347.2 billion won, and retail investors offloaded a net 640.2 billion won. Institutions purchased a net 974.5 billion won.
The main index opened higher, shrugging off an overnight decline on Wall Street amid lingering concerns over inflation, and extended gains later in the session as investors sought to pick up oversold tech and semiconductor stocks.
Analysts pointed to the broader rise in stock markets across Asia, especially in Taiwan, which had slumped the previous session amid concerns of a recent rise in infections.
"As Taiwan's stock market exhibited a strong rebound, South Korean tech and semiconductor shares that had recently been sluggish also rose," Daishin Securities analyst Lee Kyung-min said.
"Steelmaker POSCO climbed on hopes of rising steel prices, marking a broader rebound across the local market."
In Seoul, top cap Samsung Electronics remained unchanged at 79,600 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix jumped 2.98 percent to 121,000 won.
Internet portal operator Naver advanced 1.6 percent to 349,500 won, and rival Kakao surged 2.26 percent to 113,000 won.
Leading chemical firm LG Chem gained 2.44 percent to 881,000 won, and electric vehicle battery maker Samsung SDI rose 1.28 percent to 631,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics climbed 2.29 percent to 894,000 won, and top automaker Hyundai Motor increased 1.76 percent to 231,000 won.
Steelmaker POSCO soared 5.04 percent to 385,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,130.5 won against the U.S. dollar, up 4.3 won from the previous session's close.
Local stock markets will be closed Wednesday for Buddha's Birthday, a national holiday in South Korea.
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