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Seoul: Shares retreat from 5-mth high; builders rally on robust housing market

[SEOUL] South Korean shares stepped back from the five-month peak reached in the previous session as investors consolidated gains from a six-day winning streak.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 0.2 per cent at 1,986.57 points as of 0225 GMT.

The main bourse had risen 2.5 per cent over the last six trading sessions as worries receded over Greece's debt tussle with the euro zone and the Fed held off on setting a date for its impending rate hike.

Builders outperformed the broader market on an improving housing market, with Daewoo Engineering & Construction surging 8.9 per cent while Samsung C&T rallied 3.7 per cent.

Shares in Asiana Airlines soared 7.5 per cent to a 3-1/2 year high on reports that a pair of South Korean private equity firms have expressed interest in buying a controlling stake of Kumho Industrial, Asiana's parent firm.

Firms operating in the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a collaborative economic region in North Korea, saw their shares rally on an agreement over a free trade deal between China and South Korea that accepted goods produced in the area as South Korean-made.

Romanson Co climbed 4.9 per cent while Jaeyoung Solutec Co gained 4.4 per cent.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks edged down 0.28 per cent while the junior, tech-heavy KOSDAQ rose 0.18 per cent.

The South Korean won drifted lower in wobbly trade on Thursday, with investors reluctant to chase the local currency higher after its sharp gains in the previous session.

The local currency was quoted at 1,101.6 to the dollar as of 0225 GMT, compared to 1,099.0 seen at the end of Wednesday's session.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 1 basis points to trade at 108.51.