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[SEOUL] South Korean shares bounced back early on Tuesday as foreign investors turned to net buyers after a sharp fall in the previous session, shaking off China's soft official manufacturing activity.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 1.3 per cent at 2,017.24 points at 0248 GMT. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by 17-to-10.
On Tuesday, an official survey showed that activity in China's manufacturing sector contracted again in November. A separate private survey also showed factory activity contracted for the ninth straight month in November, but more slowly than in October.
"Directionally, today's KOSPI rise is due to a recovery from a sharp decline from the previous session," said Kim Hak-gyun, a stock analyst at KDB Daewoo Securities.
"China's PMI surveys don't seem to have affected the market sentiment yet." Chemical and machinery stocks led advancers, with most sectors in positive territory.
Hanwha Chemical Corp shares jumped 8.4 per cent and steelmaker POSCO rose 3.0 per cent.
Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and its affiliate Samsung SDI Co Ltd gained 2.0 per cent and 3.8 per cent, respectively.
South Korea's trade surplus reached a record high as imports dipped at a faster clip than exports although its exports contracted for 11th consecutive month in November.
Offshore investors were set to be net buyers in three sessions, purchasing a net 7.8 billion Korean won (S$9.5 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, buttressing the index.
The South Korean won reversed early losses to edge higher, set to end a three-day losing streak.
The local currency was up 0.1 per cent at 1,156.6 per dollar.
December futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.05 points at 109.29.