S. Korean shares close higher ahead of US inflation data

South Korean stocks finished higher Tuesday on gains in technology and chemical shares, while investors awaited the US inflation data slated to be announced this week. The local currency fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index advanced 29.49 points, or 1.3 percent, to close at 2,433.25.

Trading volume was slim at 300 million shares worth 6.27 trillion won ($4.71 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 709 to 108.

Foreigners offloaded a net 93.5 billion won worth of local shares, and individuals dumped a net 542.4 billion won. Institutions, on the other hand, bought a net 625.5 billion won.

Analysts said the trading volume was slim as investors sat on the sidelines ahead of the announcement of the US consumer price index this week, while closely monitoring the possibility that Washington may face a government shutdown should Congress fail to pass a spending plan by Friday.

"The market gain was limited despite the weak greenback and robust exports in November due to concerns over the US CPI amid the short-selling ban," said Han Ji-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities.

Tech shares closed higher, with top cap Samsung Electronics rising 0.57 percent to 70,800 won and leading battery maker LG Energy Solution climbing 5.17 percent to 437,000 won.

Top portal operator Naver added 3.12 percent to 198,600 won, and its smaller rival Kakao increased 3 percent to 46,350 won.

Chemical shares also closed higher, with LG Chem moving up 2.54 percent to 465,000 won and oil refiner SK Innovation gaining 2.52 percent to 134,300 won.

The local currency ended at 1,328.9 won against the greenback, down 3.8 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 2 basis points to 3.857 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds decreased 2.2 basis points to 3.905 percent. (Yonhap)

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