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[SEOUL] Seoul shares rose to a near one-month high by midday on Tuesday as market heavyweight Samsung Electronics bolstered the main board, while automakers weighed on the bourse.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.5 per cent at 1,988.44 points as of 0239 GMT, after gaining as much as almost 1 per cent to 1,998.02 points, the highest intraday level since August 11. Losers slightly outnumbered gainers by 105 to 100. "The KOSPI rises in a choppy trade among sectors, and it tries breaking through 2,000 level, but it's still hard to do that," said Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, which makes up 13 per cent of the main bourse's market value, rose as much as 3.6 per cent to a two-week high ahead of its earnings guidance expected to be released early on Wednesday.
John Park, an analyst at Daishin Securities, said the tech giant rose on speculation that the company may announce plans to return more of its profits to shareholders, possibly through a share buyback.
The sub-index for textile and apparel companies was up 1.9 per cent on expectations of benefit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Hyundai Motor Co Ltd and Kia Motors Corp fell 5.1 per cent and 4.9 per cent, respectively, on concerns over declining exports as Japan, South Korea's car exports rival, take part in the TPP.
On the currency market, the South Korean won joined most regional peers by strengthening against the dollar on renewed risk appetite.
The won firmed 0.7 per cent to 1,164.6 per dollar. The currency touched 1,161.8, its strongest level since Sept 18.
December futures on three-year treasury bonds were down 0.03 points at 109.88.