SEOUL, March 14 (Xinhua) -- South Korean shares rose on Thursday as program-linked purchases buttressed the market at the expiration date of stock futures and options.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 2. 4 points, or 0.12 percent, to close at 2,002.13. Trading volume stood at 321 million shares worth 3.97 trillion won (3.58 billion U.S. dollars).
The index pared earlier losses throughout the session, turning into positive territory at the last minutes of trading after program-linked purchases worth about 600 billion won shored up the market.
The purchases came on the quadruple witching day, which means the simultaneous expiration of stock futures, stock options, KOSPI200 index futures and KOSPI200 index options.
South Korea's central bank kept its policy rate on hold at 2.75 percent for five straight months, disappointing investors and pulling down the KOSPI to the 1,978 level earlier.
Foreign funds reduced their holdings of stocks by 191.7 billion won, and institutional investors sold stocks valued at 72 billion won. Retail investors purchased shares worth 259.6 billion won, shoring up the stock market.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 0.5 percent after rising as much as 1 percent earlier on hopes for the launch of its new Galaxy S4 smartphone. Hyundai Mobis, the nation's biggest auto parts maker, declined 1.1 percent, and top insurer Samsung Life Insurance slid 1.9 percent. The country's No.1 steelmaker POSCO lost 0.5 percent, and leading chemical firm LG Chem fell 0.9 percent.
The local currency finished at 1,109.0 won against the greenback, down 11.6 won from Wednesday's close.
Bond prices ended mixed. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes rose 0.01 percentage point to 2.62 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds finished steady at 2.72 percent.