SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- South Korean shares made the first rebound in four sessions on Friday as foreigners bought shares on positive economic data from the world's top 2 economies.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 13.58 points, or 0.69 percent, to close at 1,987.85. Trading volume stood at 576.37 million shares worth 3.83 trillion won (3. 62 billion U.S. dollars).
Jobs and housing data in the U.S. showed positive picture. Claims for jobless benefits fell to 335,000 last week, the lowest since January 2008. Housing starts in December jumped 12.1 percent to an annual rate of 954,000 units, marking the fastest rise in over four years.
China's economic expansion slowed to 7.8 percent in 2012, the lowest since 1999, but the world's No.2 economy's fourth-quarter growth quickened to 7.9 percent on solid trade, improving consumption and rising investment. The fourth-quarter figure was up from 7.4 percent in the third quarter and 7.6 percent in the second quarter.
Foreign investors turned to net buyers in six sessions by purchasing a net 32.2 billion won worth of local stocks. Local institutions and retail investors sold shares worth 12.1 billion won and 17.9 billion won respectively.
Large-cap shares ended mixed. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.75 percent, marking the first rise in four sessions. Top automaker Hyundai Motor gained 0.47 percent and the nation's biggest steelmaker POSCO added 0.42 percent. The state- run power supplier Korea Electric Power Corp. advanced 1.48 percent, and the nation's No.1 life insurer Samsung Life Insurance jumped 5.45 percent.
The nation's second-largest carmaker Kia Motors declined 1.45 percent, and top auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis retreated 0.57 percent. Leading chemical firm LG Chem lost 0.31 percent, and memory chip giant SK Hynix lost 1.16 percent.
The local currency finished at 1,057.2 won against the greenback, up 0.9 won from Thursday's close.
Bond prices ended lower. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes rose 0.02 percentage point to 2.75 percent, but the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds added 0.02 percentage point to 2.85 percent.