South Korean stocks gained more than 1 percent Friday, led by the strong performance of big-cap tech shares that tracked overnight gains on Wall Street. The local currency sharply rose against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index added 25.78 points, or 1.03 percent, to finish at 2,517.85. The secondary KOSDAQ jumped 2.11 percent to end at 830.37.
The Kospi's trade volume was moderate at 421.4 million shares worth 7.69 trillion won (US$5.88 billion), with winners outnumbering losers 539 to 339.
Institutions and foreigners bought shares worth 432.7 billion won and 201.3 billion won, respectively, while retail investors dumped a total of 647.8 billion won worth of shares.
Overnight, all three major US indexes gained ground, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite up 1.37 percent, as communication and IT shares rallied on favorable news in the artificial intelligence sector.
Alphabet, the parent company of Google, jumped more than 5 percent on the launch of its latest AI model, Gemini, and Advanced Micro Devices shot up 9.9 percent after it estimated that the market for data center AI chips could reach $45 billion this year.
"The Kospi gained upward momentum on foreign investors' buying scheme and gains in semiconductor shares amid a surge in AI stocks in the US market," Lee Kyoung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities, said.
In Seoul, market heavyweights ended in positive territory to push up the Kospi.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics jumped 1.54 percent to 72,600 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gained 1.51 percent to 127,500 won.
Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution climbed 0.94 percent to 430,500 won, and its smaller rival Samsung SDI added 1.47 percent to 450,000 won.
Steel giant Posco Holdings soared 5.48 percent to 471,500 won, its battery component making affiliate, Posco Future M, jumped 2.54 percent to 343,000 won.
IT and auto stocks also gained ground.
Internet portal operator Naver advanced 2.35 percent to 217,500 won, and Kakao, the operator of the country's top mobile messenger, rose 2.38 percent to 51,700 won.
Top carmaker Hyundai Motor added 1.37 percent to 185,100 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia gained 1.53 percent to 86,400 won.
The local currency ended at 1,306.80 won against the greenback, up 18.5 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)