South Korean stocks finished slightly higher Monday ahead of key economic data to be released later this week, ending a four-day losing streak. The local currency gained ground against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index advanced 9.2 points, or 0.36 percent, to finish at 2,556.88.
Trading volume was moderate at 406.6 million shares worth 8.21 trillion won (US$6.17 billion), with gainers outpacing decliners 507 to 355.
Foreigners and institutions bought a combined net 56.2 billion won worth of local shares, while individuals dumped a net 75.6 billion won.
"This week, economic indices from major countries are expected to set the overall tone for the market throughout this week," Noh Dong-gil, an analyst from Shinhan Securities Co., said, citing U.S. consumer price index slated for Wednesday and China's industrial output data for Friday.
"U.S. inflation, expected to be affected by a recent rise in oil prices, will likely increase pressure on a rate hike."
Market heavyweights were in positive territory to push up the index, as Samsung Electronics, the largest share in terms of market cap, increased 0.71 percent to 70,800 won and No. 3 SK hynix advanced 1.93 percent to 115,900 won.
Pharmaceutical firms were strong, with industry leader Samsung Biologics climbing 1.38 percent to 734,000 won and Celltrion gaining 1.22 percent to 149,300 won.
Major game developer Netmarble soared 8.82 percent to 46,250 won on the rising popularity of its new titles.
But oil refineries and battery makers went south, with SK Innovation falling 1.81 percent to 167,900 won and LG Energy Solution declining 0.2 percent to 508,000 won.
The Korean won ended at 1,331.1 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.3 won from Friday's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed sharply lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys gained 7 basis points to 3.885 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds added 5.7 basis points to 3.894 percent.
Source: Yonhap News Agency