[SEOUL] South Korean shares were set to rise for a fourth straight day on Wednesday as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd shot to a record high after promising higher dividends and a share buyback.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was up 0.3 per cent at 1,984.94 points as of 0157 GMT.
Samsung Electronics was trading up more than 3 per cent as the firm weighs potentially its biggest structural change to date.
As of early Wednesday, Samsung Electronics accounted for 16.6 per cent of the benchmark index's capitalisation, far more than any other stock listed on the bourse.
The tech giant's plans came at the right time as market participants were looking for a supportive catalyst amid a deepening political crisis.
South Korean President Park Geun Hye on Tuesday asked parliament to decide how and when she can give up power over an influence-peddling scandal, taking the country's political crisis deeper into uncharted terrain.
"Market players will fine-tune their focus on Samsung Elec's performance and dividend payouts," said Claire Kim, a Daishin analyst who sees Samsung's shares reaching over 2 million won (S$2,440) in the near term.
On a monthly basis, the main bourse was poised to close at its lowest level since end-June this year, pressured all through November by investors dumping risky assets ahead of and after the US presidential election, which saw Republican Donald Trump take the victory in a shock win.
Foreigners and retail investors lifted the Kospi, buying a net 32.3 billion won and 39.1 billion won worth of shares near midday, while institutions sold 71.9 billion won worth.
Losers outnumbered winners 460 to 325.
The South Korean won was trading nearly flat as the US dollar moved sideways ahead of an Opec meeting later in the global day that could mean more uncertainty for financial markets.
The won was quoted at 1,167.2 per US dollar, up 0.1 per cent from Tuesday's onshore close of 1,165.8. In monthly terms, the won was set to close at its lowest level against the US dollar since May this year.
December futures on three-year treasury bonds were up 0.07 points to trade at 109.40.