SEOUL, March 17 (Yonhap) -- Seoul stocks finished higher Friday as investors' jitters eased on news that a group of banks would throw a lifeline to a troubled U.S. bank. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 17.78 points, or 0.75 percent, to 2,395.69.
Trading volume was moderate at about 355 million shares worth some 8.38 trillion won (US$6.4 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 672 to 224.
Institutions and foreign investors bought a net 155 billion won worth of shares, and foreigners offloaded a net 175 billion won worth of shares.
Overnight, Wall Street finished up after 11 American banks vowed to inject US$30 billion into the ailing San Francisco-based First Republic Bank, reassuring investors of the financial soundness of the U.S. banking system.
In Seoul, big-cap stocks finished largely in positive territory.
Top-cap Samsung Electronics advanced 2.34 percent to end at 61,300 won, and chipmaker SK hynix jumped 6.33 percent to 84,000 won.
Internet giant Naver climbed 0.46 percent to 198,000 won, and Kakao, the operator of South Korea's dominant messaging app, KakaoTalk, rose 0.5 percent to 60,200 won.
Battery makers lost ground, with LG Energy Solutions edging down 3.99 percent to 553,000 won and Samsung SDI losing 2.44 percent to 721,000 won. Chemical giant LG Chem declined 3.84 percent to end at 702,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,302.2 won against the greenback, up 10.8 won from the previous session's close.