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Seoul: Stocks hit record, extend 2017 rally to over 17%

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares hit a fresh record high on Friday, taking their gains this year to more than 17 per cent, as investors snapped up shares of tech and brokerage firms on expectations of stronger earnings.

Shrugging off uncertainty over the outcome of the UK election, the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was up 0.7 per cent at 2,280.06 points as of 0200 GMT, after touching a high of2,382.59.

The exit poll for the elections suggested British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives would fall short of a majority in parliament, throwing her Brexit plans into disarray.

"Now that the Kospi is definitely in its upcycle, all other external factors will have just a short-term effect on the index," said Cho Byung Hyun, a stock analyst at Yuanta Securities.

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Information technology and securities shares were the main drivers for the benchmark index, Mr Cho added.

The sub-index for electric and electronics rose nearly two per cent, with market heavyweight Samsung Electronics up 2.2 per cent.

The securities minor index jumped over four per cent. Samsung Securities rose four per cent and NH Investment & Securities 3.8 per cent.

Foreign investors were set to be small net sellers, offloading 8.7 billion Korean won (S$10.731 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Advancers outnumbered decliners 426 to 381.

The South Korean won was also higher at 1,119.4 to the US dollar, up 0.2 per cent compared to Thursday's close of 1,122.1.

June futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.01 point to 109.65.

REUTERS

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