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Seoul: Shares rise on building sector gains; won edges up

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[SEOUL] Seoul shares rose by midday on Wednesday as builders led gains on expectations for increasing orders from Iran after Tehran and global powers reached a nuclear deal.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.3 per cent at 2,065.06 points as of 0226 GMT from the previous close at 2,059.23. Gainers led losers by 1.18 to 1.

"Market's rose today due to the deal as builders gained on expectations for more contracts from Iran and refineries were up on prospects for stabilisation in oil markets," said Rhoo Yong-seok, an analyst at Hyundai Securities.

Builders outperformed the broader market, rising 2.8 per cent. Daelim Industrial Co Ltd gained 2.5 per cent after rising as much as 14.5 per cent to 98,000 won, its highest since Dec 2, 2013.

Refinery SK Innovation Co Ltd and S-Oil Corp rose 1.9 per cent and 1.6 per cent, respectively.

Carmaker Hyundai Motor Co Ltd was up 1.2 per cent and its sister company Kia Motors Corp gained 0.8 per cent.

Foreigners were set to be net buyers in the local stock market, purchasing a net 109 billion won (S$130 million) worth of KOSPI shares by midday.

The South Korean won edged up against the dollar as the dollar lost ground on easing expectations for a US Federal Reserve rate hike in September following disappointing US retail sales data.

The won was up 0.2 per cent at 1,140.0 per dollar from the previous close of 1,142.6.

US retail sales slipped 0.3 per cent last month, the weakest reading since February.

Market reaction was largely muted after China's better-than-expected second quarter economic growth data was released during the session.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds were down 0.01 point at 109.06.

REUTERS