South Korean shares advanced for a third straight session Tuesday amid investors' speculation that central banks in major economies may tone down their monetary tightening after weak economic data from China. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 5.58 points, or 0.22 percent, to close at 2,533.52 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 389 million shares worth some 7.9 trillion won ($6 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 421 to 414.
Institutions sold a net 24 billion won, and retail investors offloaded 54 billion won. Foreigners bought a net 57 billion won.
Stocks got off to a solid start despite weaker-than-expected July retail sales and industrial output from China, the country's top trading partner.
The 12-month expected inflation from the US also fell from a month ago, raising optimism that the Federal Reserve may slow down its hawkish rate-hike moves.
The KOSPI's gain was led by big tech, usually more sensitive to borrowing costs due to high investment expenses.
"Investors seem to have interpreted the weak data from China and the US as a sign that can lessen the inflation pressure. Local stock markets seem to have digested this factor after the holiday break," Kiwoom Securities analyst Han Ji-young said.
Samsung Electronics advanced 1.33 percent to 61,000 won as its de facto chief Lee Jae-yong was granted a presidential pardon last week over a bribery case involving a former South Korean president.
No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix jumped 3.64 percent to 96,700 won, following US Microsoft's co-founder Bill Gate's visit to Seoul. On Monday, SK Group's two key affiliates said they will jointly develop next-generation technologies for small modular reactors (SMRs) with US nuclear reactor design firm TerraPower, founded by Gates.
The country's largest automaker, Hyundai Motor, rose 0.77 percent to 197,500 won, with bio heavyweight Celltrion climbing 1.44 percent to 211,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,308.1 won against the US dollar, down 5.7 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)