Seoul stocks edged up Monday, extending their winning streak to a 12th consecutive day, with investors cautiously pinning hopes on the upcoming U.S.-China trade talks next month. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 0.18 points, or 0.01 percent, to close at 2,091.70. Trade volume was moderate at 409 million shares worth 3.9 trillion won (US$3.3 billion), with decliners outnumbering gainers 433 to 374.
Investors are now shifting their focus to next month's planned high-level negotiations between the United States and China, though last week's working-level meeting didn't deliver any positive news, analysts said.
"U.S. and Chinese trade officials appear to have found a gap running deep between them in the working-level meeting. But as the high-level talks are scheduled to resume next month, investors are likely to take a wait-and-see attitude in coming weeks," Kiwoom Securities' Suh Sang-young said.
President Donald Trump said on Sept. 20 (local time) that he wants a complete deal, not a partial one, and doesn't feel the need to secure a trade agreement with Beijing before next year's election.
His comments made a Chinese delegation abruptly cancel their planned trip to U.S. farms to discuss agricultural issues.
Institutions bought a net 86 billion won worth of stocks, but foreigners and individuals sold stocks valued at a combined 93 billion won.
Tech and auto were lead gainers, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics rising 0.2 percent to 49,300 won, top carmaker Hyundai Motor climbing 2.7 percent to 133,000 won and No. 2 carmaker Kia Motors jumping 5.5 percent to 46,400 won.
Among decliners, leading chemical firm LG Chem fell 1.7 percent to 323,500 won, leading steelmaker POSCO declined 1.3 percent to 231,000 won and national flag carrier Korean Air Lines shed 0.8 percent to 23,550 won.
The local currency closed at 1,194.00 won against the U.S. dollar, down 6.00 won from the previous session.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 0.1 basis point to 1.331 percent, but the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 0.5 basis point to 1.402 percent. (Yonhap)