Seoul stocks up for 3rd day ahead of U.S. inflation data release

SEOUL-- South Korean stocks advanced for the third straight session Tuesday as investors await the release of U.S. consumer price data, seeking more clues about the Federal Reserve's tapering timeline. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 20.97 points, or 0.67 percent, to close at 3,148.83 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 700 million shares worth some 15.4 trillion won (US$13.2 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 607 to 251.

Foreigners bought a net 294 billion won, while retail investors sold 1.1 trillion won. Institutions purchased a net 761 billion won.

Stocks traded bullish on strong foreign and institutional buying, as investors expect the U.S. consumer prices, set to be released Tuesday (U.S. time), to lose upward momentum.

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.76 percent, largely on expectations the Fed would not hurry to roll back its accommodative policies in the Federal Open Market Committee meeting next week.

"The (U.S.) consumer price index is likely to have a direct impact on the Fed's economic diagnosis related to the tapering timeline," said Hana Financial Investment analyst Lee Jae-sun.

In Seoul, market bellwether Samsung Electronics increased 0.39 percent to 76,600 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gained 0.94 percent to 107,500 won.

Internet portal operator Naver lost 1.35 percent to 402,500 won, and its rival Kakao decreased 0.4 percent to 124,000 won. Giant pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics closed unchanged at 913,000 won.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor climbed 1.95 percent to 209,000 won, but leading chemical firm LG Chem declined 1.74 percent to 734,000 won. Bank top cap Kakao Bank surged 7.89 percent to 69,700 won, breaking its eight-day losing streak.

The local currency closed at 1,170.8 won against the U.S. dollar, up 5.2 percent from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 1 basis point to 1.535 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 1.5 basis points to 1.775 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency