SEOUL : South Korean stocks gained ground on Friday. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 12.29 points, or 0.60 percent, to settle at 2,075.57. Trading volume stood at 372.5 million shares worth 4.5 trillion won (4 billion U.S. dollars).     It was the highest close in about three weeks. Many of blue-chip stocks ended in positive territory. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 1.8 percent, and leading chemical firm LG Chem added 0.6 percent. Samsung BioLogics, a biopharmaceutical unit of Samsung Group, the country's biggest family-controlled conglomerate, climbed 1.9 percent. The state-run power supplier Korea Electric Power Corp. gained 0.7 percent, but memory chip giant SK Hynix dipped 0.3 percent.     The biggest mobile operator SK Telecom declined 2.8 percent, and the biggest steelmaker POSCO lost 1.2 percent. South Korea's currency finished at 1,116.4 won against the greenback, up 1.9 won from the previous close.

Bond prices ended lower. Yields on the liquid three-year treasury notes added 0.8 basis points to 1.804 percent, and the return on the 10-year government bonds went up 2.8 basis points to 1.992 percent.