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Seoul: Stocks at over 20-month high in wake of Park's dismissal

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares rose to a more than 20-month intraday high early on Monday as market sentiment improved after the ouster of President Park Geun-Hye last week while stronger global stocks also lent support.

Two days after a court dismissed her over a corruption scandal, the disgraced former leader left the presidential Blue House on Sunday to face life as a private citizen and the possibility of jail.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was up 1.1 per cent at 2,121.26 points as of 0225 GMT, its strongest level since May 29, 2015.

Bae Sung-Young, a stock analyst at Hyundai Securities said that the hopes of upbeat first-quarter earnings for the overall local companies could further push the index up.

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Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics rose 1.8 per cent, while S-Oil rose nearly 6 per cent on a high-dividend.

Mr Bae said market players were focusing on a US Federal Reserve policy meeting this week but were more keen to find out whether there would be more than three rate increases this year, not the March rate increase itself.

The coming meeting is set for March 14-15.

Offshore investors were set to be buyers for a sixth straight session, purchasing a net 164.3 billion won (S$201.74 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Advancers far outnumbered decliners 491 to 290.

The won rose after US dollar weakened on slower-than-expected rise in US wages.

The won was quoted at 1,149.4 to the greenback, up 0.7 per cent compared to the previous close of 1,157.4.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.04 point to 109.29.

REUTERS

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