Korean shares closed higher Thursday as foreigners and institutional investors increased their net buying. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 0.81 percent, or 16.27 points, to 2,022.10, the highest closing level this year.
Trade volume stood at a moderate 387.84 million shares worth 4.71 trillion won ($4.2 billion), with winners outnumbering losers 487 to 305.
Foreign and institutional investors bought a combined 303.79 billion won worth of domestic shares on bargain hunting. But individuals sold a net 297.95 billion won.
Analysts expected the overall net profit of domestic companies listed on the main KOSPI market to reach 24.9 trillion won in the January-March quarter, improving from 22.6 trillion won a year earlier.
“With all eyes on earnings reports from major companies in the coming weeks, Korean companies began to release stronger-than-expected results. Investors are likely to further develop their appetite for riskier emerging-market assets for the time being,” Mirae Asset Daewoo analyst Kim Hyung-rae said.
On Thursday, Woori Bank posted a 52 percent on-year jump in net profit for the January-March period at 443 billion won.
Heavyweight stocks closed mostly higher, with top automaker Hyundai Motor gaining 1.65 percent to 154,000 won, cosmetics giant AmorePacific climbing 2.01 percent to 406,500 won and No. 1 refiner SK Innovation rising 1.56 percent to 162,500 won.
In contrast, top market cap Samsung Electronics shed 0.38 percent at 1,294,000 won, top chemical firm LG Chem dropped 1.86 percent to 316,000 won and state-run utility Korea Electric Power declined 0.67 percent at 59,900 won.
Korea’s won closed at 1,132.90 against the greenback, up 2.30 won from the previous session’s close.