South Korean shares rose for two straight days Tuesday on expectations the European Central Bank ( ECB) may expand its quantitative easing to government bonds.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 15.69 points, or 0.82 percent, to 1,918.31 at the close. Trading volume stood at 277.64 million shares worth 3.57 trillion won (3. 28 billion U.S. dollars).
The ECB is scheduled to hold a regular policy meeting on Thursday when the bank is expected to decide to buy government bonds, expanding its monetary stimulus to the U.S. Federal Reserve type of quantitative easing.
The expected money printing is forecast to boost the sluggish European economy, bolstering expectations for exports of the export-driven South Korean economy.
China's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 7.3 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, beating market estimates of a 7.2 percent expansion and propping up investors'sentiment in the local stock market.
Local institutions raised stock holdings by 171.3 billion won, but retail investors sold shares worth 212.1 billion won. Foreigners ended up net buyers of a net 31.8 billion won of stocks after selling domestic shares earlier.
Most large-cap shares gained ground. The state-run power supplier Korea Electric Power Corp. soared 6.1 percent on hopes for upbeat fourth-quarter earnings, and market bellwether Samsung Electronics advanced 2.2 percent. Top wireless carrier SK Telecom climbed 2.1 percent, and leading cosmetics maker Amore Pacific increased 3.6 percent.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,088.4 won against the greenback, down 10.4 won from Monday's close.
Bond prices ended higher. Yields on the liquid three-year treasury notes fell 0.7 basis points to 2.031 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds lost 2.5 basis points to 2.360 percent.