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Seoul: Stocks steady after touching 10-month high; won edges down

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares early on Friday touched a near 10-month peak, following Wall Street's record highs overnight, and then held steady.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was marginally up at 2,047.13 points at 0226 GMT. It went as high as 2,060.84 points, the strongest level since Oct 29.

The index was on track for its biggest gain weekly gain in three weeks.

But Kang Hyun-gie, a stock analyst at Dongbu Securities, said that it is unlikely for the local equities to extend gains.

"Global economic indicators, especially the ones from the US, European Union, and China, released in the third quarter have been weaker than forecast. They would dent shares in the near term," he predicted.

Offshore investors were poised to be net buyers for the day, purchasing a net 87.2 billion Korean won (S$106.5 million) of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Korea Electric Power Corp was down 3.5 per cent after South Korea's energy ministry said on Thursday residential electricity tariffs for July-September would be cut by 420 billion won.

Shares of steelmakers rose, with Posco up 1.4 per cent, and Hyundai Steel Co 2.1 per cent.

Advancers outnumbered decliners 458 to 327.

The South Korean won nudged down with investors cautious as foreign exchange authorities kept hinting about smoothing the currency's recent sharp rise.

The won stood at 1,101.4 per US dollar, down 0.2 per cent compared to Thursday's close of 1,099.5.

The currency looked set to strengthen for a third straight week.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds were unchanged at 111.05.