[SEOUL] Seoul shares and the won rose by midday Friday as investors' risk appetites improved after rallies in global stock markets and sharp rebounds in oil prices.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 1.2 per cent at 1,931.56 points as of 0213 GMT, rising for a fourth straight session. Gainers outnumbered losers by 4.8 to 1.
For the week, the index was up more than 3 per cent, so set to snap a streak of five straight weekly losses.
Seo Myung-chan, a stock analyst at Kiwoom Securities, said higher volatility can last until investors know when the Federal Reserve will start raising US interest rates. "Today's rebound doesn't mean all uncertainties are resolved including the timing of Fed's rate hike," Mr Seo said.
Meanwhile, foreigners were set to extend their selling spree into 17th straight session on the main board, offloading a net 54.5 billion won (S$65 million) by midday.
Refinery and chemical shares bolstered the main board after oil prices soared more than 10 per cent overnight.
SK Innovation Co Ltd rose 4.1 per cent, and S-Oil Corp climbed 4.4 per cent. GS Holdings Corp gained 4.8 per cent.
LG Chem Ltd rose as much as 8.6 per cent to a three-week high of 246,000 won.
Overnight, US stock markets rallied more than 2 per cent as strong US economic data and hints that a September interest rate hike was unlikely fuelled optimism that the worst of recent market turmoil was over.
On the currency market, the South Korean won joined most regional peers in rising against the dollar.
The won was up 0.7 per cent at 1,176.5 per dollar, its strongest since Aug 13. Earlier, it gained 0.9 per cent to 1,174.5. "The won was under process to normalise after it has been highly priced into risks recently, while market (participants) are still watching Chinese share markets," said Yuna Park, a foreign-exchange analyst at Dongbu Securities.
Ms Park added the won will remain around 1,170 to 1,180 level on Friday.
September futures on three-year treasury bonds were down 0.04 points at 109.45.