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Seoul: Stocks set to extend gains for third day, won eases

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - 11:03
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South Korean shares edged up on Wednesday morning, extending two sessions of solid gains, as investors took a breather awaiting the minutes of the US Federal Reserve, looking past oil price volatility.

[SEOUL] South Korean shares edged up on Wednesday morning, extending two sessions of solid gains, as investors took a breather awaiting the minutes of the US Federal Reserve, looking past oil price volatility.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.4 per cent at 1,896.13 points as of 0226 GMT.

"If you take a look at how energy and shipbuilding shares are performing so far, it's quite evident that oil prices now have limited impact on markets," said Kang Hyun-gie, a stock analyst at Dongbu Securities.

"Although markets may continue to take a breather for some time, we cannot say the markets now faces favourable conditions," Mr Kang added.

Shares in Hyundai Heavy Industries rose 1.5 per cent, while Samsung Heavy Industries Co Ltd gained 0.5 per cent.

Shares of SK Innovation Co Ltd advanced 1.1 per cent after the company said on Wednesday it had secured orders to supply battery cells for Mercedes-Benz electric cars.

On the other hand, shares in Cheil Worldwide Inc, an advertising arm of Samsung Group, slumped 10.1 per cent after the company said that its key shareholder was in talks with global agencies on various types of cooperation.

Markets now await minutes of the Federal Reserve's last meeting to gauge opinion among policy makers on when the central bank may further raise rates.

Foreign investors were seen buying at a slower pace near the mid-session compared with Tuesday, purchasing a net 20.5 billion won (S$23.56 million) worth of KOSPI shares.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 0.7 per cent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.3 per cent lower.

The South Korean won joined other Asian currencies and fell to a near 5-1/2-year low early on Wednesday, as oil prices remained weak after the producers deal.

On Tuesday, top oil producers Russia and Saudi Arabia dashed expectations of supply cuts by agreeing only to freeze output at January levels if other major exporters joined them.

The won was quoted at 1,224.0 per US dollar, down 0.6 per cent from Tuesday's close of 1,216.6.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.03 points to 110.36.

REUTERS