SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed 0.34 percent higher Tuesday as automakers and telecommunications shares gained ground, analysts said. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) advanced 6.59 points to 1,916.93. Trading volume was moderate at 267.3 million shares worth 4.13 trillion won (US$3.82 billion) with gainers outpacing losers 436 to 363.
"Weariness against emerging markets has risen. Korea is showing some differentiation from other markets, but it still remains to be seen as uncertainty over U.S. monetary stimulus tapering lingers," said Han Beom-ho, an analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp.
Foreign investors remained net sellers of local stocks by unloading a net 313.5 billion won worth of shares.
The Federal Reserve is set to hold a policy meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday (local time) with all watching whether the U.S. central bank will decide to further reduce its bond purchases.
The Fed's tapering of quantitative easing is an indication of confidence for the U.S. economy, but it also sparks concerns about capital outflows from emerging countries.
The Seoul government has said that the Fed's cutback on its stimulus package, along with the slowing economic growth of China, was causing financial instability in developing nations, including Argentina and Turkey.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor rose 3.13 percent to 230,500 won, and its affiliate Kia Motors advanced 1.31 percent to 54,200 won as the yen's weakness against the Korean won eased.
Defensive stocks such as telecommunication shares shot up. Top mobile operator SK telecom advanced 3.65 percent to 213,000 won, and its rival KT Corp. gained 4.52 percent to 31,200 won.
But market leader Samsung Electronics declined 0.7 percent to 1,283,000 won on concerns about its earnings outlook. Flat-panel giant LG Display fell 3.25 percent to 25,300 won.
U.S. markets lost ground on emerging market risks. The Dow Jones industrial average declined 0.26 percent, and the tech-laden Nasdaq composite index fell 1.08 percent.
The local currency ended at 1,081.20 won to the greenback, up 2.4 won from Monday's close, as exporters unloaded the greenback, dealers said.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 0.01 percentage point to 2.87 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds fell 0.01 percentage point to 3.22 percent.