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Seoul: Shares, won regain ground as market nerves ease

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares rose marginally early on Friday as Beijing's efforts to stabilise yuan brought a semblance of calm and a significant rebound in oil prices also contributed to easing market tensions.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.1 per cent at 1,902.70 points as of 0206 GMT after rising as much as 1 per cent to 1,918.30 in early trade.

"The improvement in sentiment owes a lot to Beijing's efforts to stabilise yuan after a volatile start of 2016," said Kim Sung-hwan, a stock analyst at Bookook Securities.

"But I think this may be just a brief respite," he said, adding it was unclear whether the Shanghai composite index can remain above significant 3,000-level.

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Offshore investors were poised for a seventh straight selling session, having dumped a net 104.4 billion Korean won (S$124 million) worth of Kospi shares by mid-morning.

Refiners and petrochemical shares rose after a rebound in oil prices, with S-Oil Corp and SK Chemicals Co Ltd up 1 per cent and 2.5 per cent, respectively.

Shares in Naver Corp, South Korea's largest web portal operator, gained 2.6 per cent. CJ Korea Express Corp , South Korea's largest logistics firm rose 3 per cent.

Meanwhile, auto shares underperformed the main board, with Hyundai Motor Co down 2.1 per cent and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp stumbling 1.3 per cent.

The South Korean won rose in line with the stabilising Chinese yuan, given the fact two countries are linked very closely.

The local currency was quoted at 1,210.1 to the dollar as of 0206 GMT, up 0.3 per cent compared with 1,213.4 seen at the end of Thursday's session.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds edged down 0.02 points at 109.62.

REUTERS

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