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Seoul: Shares rise more than 1%; won gains to a 1-week high

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares rose more than one per cent on Thursday morning, despite sustained selling by foreign investors, as bargain hunters took heart from Wall Street's rally and rebounds in Chinese share markets.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 1.1 per cent at 1,915.47 points as of 0222 GMT, and was set to rise for a third consecutive session after falling to a two-year low on Monday. Gainers outnumbered losers by 3.5 to 1.

"As foreigners still heavily offloaded local shares, it's hard to say sentiment completely improved today, and the local share market could be sensitive to a mere bad news" said Kim Yoon-seo, an analyst at KTB Investment & Securities.

Foreigners offloaded a net 260.8 billion won worth of shares on the main board. If they end the day as net sellers, it would mark a 16th consecutive session and the longest selling spree since May, 2012.

US stocks rallied overnight on expectations that the Federal Reserve will hold off from hiking interest rates next month due to mounting global uncertainties.

Semiconductor chipmaker SK Hynix Inc rose 5.2 per cent on bargain hunting and earnings expectations.

On the currency market, the South Korean won turned higher against the dollar after the China's share markets opened up early in the session.

The won was up 0.3 per cent at 1,182.5 per dollar after rising to a one-week high of 1,181.9. "Risk-on sentiment seems to continue in the morning, but market participants are cautiously watching Chinese share markets," said Yuna Park, a foreign-exchange analyst at Dongbu Securities.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds were down 0.03 points at 109.42.

REUTERS