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SEOUL, June 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks set a fresh high for three consecutive sessions on Wednesday as investors scooped up blue-chip shares ahead of the release of the Federal Reserve's meeting results.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 20.5 points, or 0.62 percent, to finish at 3,278.68. Trading volume was moderate at 2.2 billion shares worth 15.9 trillion won (US$14.23 billion), with gainers outpacing losers 519 to 324.
The index also extended its winning streak to a whopping five sessions.
Analysts said Seoul shares gathered ground as investors betted on the recovery of the U.S. economy, boosted by the improved U.S. industrial output released this week.
Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved down 0.27 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 0.71 percent, amid the two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting that runs through Wednesday (U.S. time).
"The accelerating speed of vaccinations indicates the normalization of the economy. This may also lead to an increase of U.S.-bound exports for South Korean firms," Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Mirae Asset Securities Co., said.
Foreigners bought more shares than they sold at a net 233.1 billion won, while retail investors offloaded a net 283 billion won. Institutions were net buyers at 44 billion won.
Market kingpin Samsung Electronics advanced 1.1 percent to 81,800 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gained 0.78 percent to 129,500 won.
Top auto maker Hyundai Motor rose 1.05 percent to 239,500 won and its sister Kia gained 0.79 percent to 89,100 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis gained 0.17 percent to 289,500 won.
Cosmetics giant AmorePacific climbed 0.71 percent to 284,000 won, and LG Household & Health Care gained 6.69 percent to 1,675,000 won.
Shares of Naver, the operator of South Korea's top online portal, jumped 1.03 percent to 391,000 won on reports that its consortium with retail giant E-Mart has been picked as the preferred bidder for eBay Korea.
Discount store chain E-Mart closed 3.42 percent higher at 166,500 won, and its parent company Shinsegae also climbed 1.33 percent to 305,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,117.20 won against the U.S. dollar, down 0.20 won from the previous session.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 2.1 basis points to 1.286 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond slid 0.7 basis point to 1.686 percent.