Seoul shares end over 1 pct higher ahead of key U.S. data

South Korean stocks ended higher Wednesday as investors closely awaited key data from the United States later this week. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 27.24 points, or 1.04 percent, to 2,652.29. Trade volume was moderate at 409.7 million shares worth 10 trillion won (US$7.4 billion), with gainers outpacing losers 559 to 302. Individuals were net sellers by offloading 539.2 billion won, while foreigners scooped up a net 458 billion won. Institutions bought a net 42.9 billion won. The U.S.' personal consumption expenditures price index is set to be released Thursday (U.S. time), as well as fourth-quarter gross domestic product growth Wednesday. "It is significant that the KOSPI is steadily building up its bottom line approaching the 2,700 level," said Han Ji-young, an analyst from Kiwoom Securities. Major shares closed bullish across the bourse, with techs, autos and battery stocks leading the overall market advance. Top te ch giant Samsung Electronics added 0.41 percent to 73,200 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix rose 2.73 percent to 158,000 won. Battery makers traded mixed, with LG Energy Solution decreasing 0.74 percent to 400,500 won, while Samsung SDI increased 0.13 percent to 381,500 won. Top automaker Hyundai Motors gained 3.98 percent to 248,000 won, and its sister Kia Motor added 4.53 percent to 117,700 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis climbed 3.64 percent. Korea Gas, which announced a weak earnings report the previous day, fell 4.72 percent to 28,250 won. The local currency ended at 1,333.6 won against the greenback, down 2.6 won from the previous session's close. Source: Yonhap News Agency