South Korean shares rose Wednesday as foreigners turned into net buyers for the first time in 10 trading days on expectations for the delayed interest rate increase by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 7.59 points, or 0.39 percent, to 1,946.61 at the close. Trading volume stood at 279.43 million shares worth 2.94 trillion won (2. 66 billion U.S. dollars).
Foreigners bought stocks worth 71.4 billion won after selling shares in the past nine sessions. Local institutions purchased a net 139.4 billion won worth of shares, but retail investors sold stocks worth 235.6 billion won.
Expectations spread that the Fed is expected to raise interest rates later than expected as the U.S. central bank said it would be patient in rate hikes at the Dec. 18 monetary policy meeting.
Some local companies, including Samsung Electronics, have unveiled plans recently to lift dividend payments, helping boost market sentiment.
Global oil prices continued to fall, stoking worries about uncertainties, but lower oil prices are expected to help companies reduce production costs in the long term.
Large-cap shares ended mixed. Top automaker Hyundai Motor gained 2 percent, and market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 0.3 percent. The biggest auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis increased 2.1 percent, and leading banking group KB Financial Group advanced 3.2 percent.
Top mobile operator SK Telecom declined 2.1 percent, and the state-run power supplier Korea Electric Power Corp. lost 0.6 percent. Cheil Industries, the de-facto holding company of Samsung Group, slid 1.5 percent.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,102.6 won against the greenback, up 0.1 won from Tuesday's close.
Bond prices ended higher. Yields on the liquid three-year treasury notes fell 0.9 basis points to 2.147 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds lost 1.3 basis points to 2.658 percent.