[SEOUL] Seoul shares rose on Thursday morning, helped by rises in tech shares, as bargain hunters took heart from Wall Street's rally, while investors were focused on the timing of a rates hike in U.S.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.4 per cent at 1,922.58 points as of 0213 GMT. Gainers outnumbered losers by 1.8 to 1. "Today's rise can't ensure tomorrow's gain as markets can fluctuate ahead of the Fed's meeting in September, while investors want to check the exact timing of the Fed's rate hike," said Seo Myung-chan, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. "In the long run, it's the right time to invest based on earnings and valuations as the market's impetus moves from liquidity to firms' results." Tech shares outperformed the broad market, up 2.2 per cent. Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co Ltd rose 2.4 per cent, and LG Display Co Ltd gained 3.5 per cent. Shares in semiconductor chipmaker SK Hynix Inc were up 2.3 per cent. "IT shares tracked gains in Wall Street's tech shares overnight, and their prices were also attractive," said Lee Seung-woo, a tech analyst at IBK Investment & Securities.
Meanwhile, foreigners were set to be net sellers for 21st straight session as they have offloaded 71.7 billion won (S$85.59 million) worth of shares in the main board by midday.
On the currency market, the South Korean won fell, mirroring a rise in the greenback as global stock markets stabilised and US hiring data overnight encouraged speculation that Fed will increase rates later the month.
The won was down 0.6 per cent at 1,187.2 per dollar after touching a morning low of 1,188.6, the weakest intraday level in more than a week.
Jeon Seung-ji, a foreign-exchange analyst at Samsung Futures, said a bullish tone for the dollar could last through the session, but market participants would worry about intervention by foreign exchange authorities to trim the won's fall if the pace was too fast.
September futures on three-year treasury bonds were up 0.05 points at 109.58.