South Korean shares rose first in three sessions Friday as financial institutions bought stocks on hopes for another rate cut as early as in October.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 7. 70 points, or 0.38 percent, to close at 2,041.86. Trading volume stood at 358.47 million shares worth 3.78 trillion won (3.65 billion U.S. dollars).
The Bank of Korea (BOK) froze the benchmark interest rate at 2. 25 percent at the August rate-setting meeting, but market expectations mounted that the central bank cut the rate again as early as in October after lowering its policy rate by a quarter percentage point in August.
The expectations for an additional rate cut was based on a minority opinion that one BOK policy board member voted for another rate cut against the majority decision of rates on hold.
The BOK lowered borrowing costs in August, a month after one policy board member's vote for a rate cut against the majority decision of rate freeze.
Foreigners reduced stock holdings by 68.9 billion won, but local institutions bought a net 65.9 billion won worth of shares, leading the market advance. Retail investors sold shares worth 11 billion won.
Most large-cap shares gained ground. Top automaker Hyundai Motor rose 3 percent, and its affiliate Kia Motors added 2.6 percent. The biggest mobile operator SK Telecom climbed 2.6 percent, and the No.1 steelmaker POSCO gained 2 percent. Naver, the owner of the most-used search engine, gained 1.3 percent, and market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 0.8 percent.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,035.3 won against the greenback, up 0.8 won from Thursday's close.
Bond prices ended higher. Yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes declined 0.090 percentage point to 2.406 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds retreated 0.074 percentage point to 3.008 percent.