South Korean shares rebounded for the first time in five sessions on Wednesday due to demand for bargain hunting, but the rise was limited as foreigners sold shares amid lingering concerns over the eurozone fiscal crisis and the U.S. fiscal cliff issue.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 4. 34 points, or 0.23 percent, to close at 1,894.04. Trading volume stood at 525.58 million shares worth 4.7 trillion won (4.33 billion U.S. dollars).
The KOSPI started higher as investors hunted for bargains caused by declines over the past four sessions, but it turned into negative terrain due to foreign selling before managing to end slightly higher.
Institutional investors purchased a net 108.3 billion won worth of shares, driving up the index at the last minutes of trading. Foreigners sold local shares worth 75.3 billion won, and retail investors were net sellers of a net 43.8 billion won worth of stocks.
The local stocks rebounded in five sessions, but the rise was limited as concerns remained over the eurozone fiscal crisis and the U.S. fiscal cliff issue. The U.S. stock market closed overnight at the lowest level in three and a half months.
Eurogroup of finance ministers decided to grant Greece two more years to make budget cuts, but the ministers postponed until next week to decide how to cover additional Greek needs of as much as 32.6 billion euros.
Adding to the concerns, the U.S. government budget deficit rose to 120 billion dollars in October from 98 billion dollars in the same period last year. The higher-than-expected budget deficit boosted worries over the fiscal cliff issue.
Large-cap shares ended mixed. Tech and transportation equipment sectors gained ground, but the finance and brokerage sectors closed bearish.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 0.44 percent to 1, 355,000 won, and memory chip giant SK Hynix surged 4.93 percent. Consumer electronics giant LG Electronics jumped 4.59 percent to 82,000 won.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 2.12 percent to 216,500 won, but its affiliate Kia Motors ended flat at 55,300 won. The nation's biggest auto parts maker was up 0.55 percent to 273,000 won.
The nation's No.1 wireless carrier SK Telecom rose 0.33 percent to 151,000 won, but leading chemical firm LG Chem declined 1.99 percent to 296,000 won. The world's largest shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries edged down 0.25 percent to 199,500 won, and flat screen maker LG Display was down 0.29 percent.
The local currency finished at 1,084.9 won against the greenback, up 5.0 won from Tuesday's close.
Bond prices ended lower. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes added 0.01 percentage point to 2.79 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds rose 0.01 percentage point to 2.85 percent.