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Seoul: Shares, won rise to 2-week highs as weak US job data chills Fed rate view
[SEOUL] South Korean shares and the won rose to two-week highs on Monday morning as a weak US jobs report prompted investors to push back their expectations for a US interest rate hike.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 1.2 per cent at 1,993.50 points as of 0217 GMT after touching a morning high of 1,194.65, the highest intraday level since Sept 18. "Risk aversion weakened today as a weak US employment data supported expectations that the Fed wouldput off the timing of rates hike," said Kim Young-jun, a stock analyst at SK Securities.
Refinery and chemical shares outperformed the broad market, up 4.3 per cent, after US energy shares surged over the weekend following a rise in oil prices.
Refinery SK Innovation Co Ltd gained 7.3 per cent to 110,000 won (S$134.5), the highest in more than two months. S-Oil Corp rose 5.6 per cent while LG Chem Ltd shares were up 5.1 per cent.
Semiconductor chipmaker SK Hynix Inc as much as 4.1 per cent to a two-week high on higher earnings expectations in the July-September period. Shinhan Investment said in a note to its clients that it expects the chipmaker's operational profit to beat prior expectation of 1.24 trillion won for the third quarter.
Data showed on Friday that US non-farm payrolls rose by 142,000 in September and August figures were revised sharply lower to show only 136,000 jobs added the month.
Foreigners were set to be net buyers, purchasing 17.3 billion won of shares in the main bourse by midday.
On the local currency market, the South Korean won was up 0.7 per cent at 1,172.5 against the dollar. Early in the session, it gained as much as almost 1 per cent to 1,169.1 per dollar, the highest intraday level in Sept. 18. "The won slightly cut gains as investors were wary of intervention (by foreign exchange authorities) to check the won's sharp rise, so the won couldn't rise above 1,170 level later in the session," said Jeon Seung-ji, a foreign-exchange analyst at Samsung Futures.
December futures on three-year treasury bonds were up 0.02 point at 109.87.