SEOUL, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- South Korean stocks advanced almost 2 percent on Monday as foreign investors remained net buyers in the local stock market for the eighth consecutive session.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 49.16 points, or 1.97 percent, to settle at 2,543.03, marking the highest close in about 33 months since Feb. 1, 2018. Trading volume stood at 1.22 billion shares worth 18.8 trillion won (17 billion U.S. dollars).
The KOSPI started 0.5 percent higher and extended its earlier gains throughout the session thanks to foreign buying of local stocks for eight trading days running.
Offshore investors continued to raise their holdings of domestic stocks amid emerging hope for a COVID-19 vaccine candidate that offset worry about the triple-digit growth in confirmed COVID-19 cases.
In the latest tally, South Korea reported 223 more cases of the COVID-19, raising the total number of infections to 28,769.
The daily caseload stayed above 200 for three straight days, growing in triple digits for nine days in a row.
The South Korean currency's appreciation to the dollar also encouraged foreigners to invest in domestic stocks. The local currency finished at 1,109.3 won versus the greenback, up 6.3 won from the previous close.
Large-cap shares ended mixed. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics jumped 4.4 percent, and memory chip giant SK hynix surged 9.3 percent. The biggest automaker Hyundai Motor climbed 0.9 percent, and Samsung BioLogics, a biopharmaceutical unit of Samsung Group, added 0.1 percent.
Leading chemical firm LG Chem declined 4.0 percent, and the most-used search engine Naver slipped 1.1 percent. Biopharmaceutical behemoth Celltrion shed 0.5 percent, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI retreated 3.1 percent.
The small-cap KOSDAQ went up 8.19 points, or 0.98 percent, to close at 847.33.
Bond prices ended mixed. Yields on the liquid three-year treasury notes rose 0.5 basis points to 0.970 percent, but the return on the 10-year government bonds lost 0.4 basis points to 1.623 percent.