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Seoul: Shares rise to 2-mth highs as Samsung Elec soars; won edges down

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Seoul shares rose to a near two-month high on Wednesday morning, underpinned by Samsung Electronics after the market heavyweight issued better-than-expected earnings guidance for the July-September period.

[SEOUL] Seoul shares rose to a near two-month high on Wednesday morning, underpinned by Samsung Electronics after the market heavyweight issued better-than-expected earnings guidance for the July-September period.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.4 per cent at 1,998.77 points as of 0220 GMT. Early in the session, it touched slightly above 2,000 level to 2,000.49, the strongest intraday level since August 11. Losers outnumbered gainers by 15 to 10.

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, which makes up 14 per cent of the main board's market value, surged as much as 6 per cent to 1.222 million won, its highest since July 31.

Before markets opened, the tech giant said its July-September operating profit likely leapt 79.8 per cent from a year earlier, beating expectations. "Exporters are rising as Samsung Elec's earnings guidance signalled that exporters could show better-than-expected earnings thanks to a weak won...which will began next week in earnest," said Rhoo Yong-seok, an analyst at Hyundai Securities. "On the other hand, shares related to domestic demand are mainly falling as the companies are importing raw materials at higher prices considering the foreign exchange rates." Convenience store chain operator GS Retail Co Ltd fell 4.3 per cent and ready-meal maker Ottogi Corp lost 6.9 per cent. Pharmaceutical Hanmi Pharm Co Ltd slid 7 per cent.

Foreigners were set to be net sellers, offloading a net 12.2 billion won (S$14.9 million) worth of shares in the main bourse.

On the currency market, the South Korean won edged down against the dollar as local importers' demand for the dollar.

The South Korean won was down 0.1 per cent at 1,166.6 per dollar after touching a near three-week high of 1,161.5.

Yuna Park, a foreign-exchange analyst at Dongbu Securities, said the currency would be locked around the 1,165 level later in the session. Importers are looking for dollars below 1,165, while exporters want won for settlements at above 1,165.

December futures on three-year treasury bonds were down 0.03 points at 109.82.

REUTERS