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Seoul: Stocks rise to near 20-month high, Samsung Elec bounces
[SEOUL] South Korean shares jumped to a near 20-month high early on Tuesday as Samsung Electronics bounced sharply after investors sold the stock heavily in the wake of a political scandal that has engulfed the nation's presidency and the conglomerate.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was up 1.1 per cent at 2,109.21 points as of 0236 GMT, its highest level since July 3, 2015.
The South Korean won firmed to 1,146.2 against the US dollar, up 0.1 per cent compared to Monday's close of 1,147.5.
"The (stock) index should have risen earlier on fundamental support from global flows, but was pressured due to political risks at home," said Cho Byung-Hyun, a stock analyst at Yuanta Securities.
Samsung Group chief Jay Y Lee was arrested last week over his alleged role in a corruption scandal rocking the highest levels of power in South Korea.
The corruption scandal could unseat President Park Geun-Hye and the Constitutional Court is expected to make a decision in coming weeks on whether to uphold a parliamentary vote to impeach her.
The sub-index for electric and electronics shares gained 1.6 per cent, largely supported by market heavyweight Samsung Electronics which rose 1.8 per cent. The stock is up this week after falling a combined 5 per cent for three straight weeks.
Mr Cho believes Tuesday's stock market rise may signal further gains ahead as the investigation into the scandal looks to be winding down.
Offshore investors were expected to be net buyers, purchasing 115.1 billion Korean won (S$142.84 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.
Steelmaker Posco was up nearly 2 per cent.
Messaging platform giant Kakao Corp rose more than 4 per cent following news that China's Ant Financial will invest US$200 million in Kakao Pay, the company's mobile payment subsidiary.
Advancing issues far outnumbered declining ones 532 to 261.
March futures on three-year treasury bonds were unchanged at 109.48.