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Seoul: Stocks tick up as oil prices lift sentiment; won flat

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares edged up on Thursday morning, as higher oil and commodity prices lifted sentiment, although trading was subdued before the Christmas holiday.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.2 per cent at 2,003.29 points as of 0232 GMT.

"The mood is dependent on moving oil and commodity prices following the Fed meeting," said Bae Sung-young, a stock analyst at Hyundai Securities.

However, Bae noted that their impact on the South Korean equity market may be less than other emerging markets since South Korea is not an oil-producing country.

South Korea's financial markets will be closed on Friday for the Christmas holiday and trading will resume on Monday.

The broader market posted humble gains across the board, with construction and machinery stocks leading advancers, which outnumbered decliners by 12-to-10.

Hyundai Motor Co shares rose 0.7 per cent after the company reached a tentative pay deal with its labour union.

Shares of Doosan Infracore Co Ltd, an industrial machinery maker, gained 2.5 per cent, as Standard Chartered's private equity arm was picked as the preferred bidder for the company's machine tools business.

Retailer Shinsegae International jumped 6.5 per cent after sealing a joint-venture contract with Italian cosmetics maker Intercos.

Offshore investors sold a net 3.4 billion Korean won ($2.90 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session.

The South Korean won traded narrowly as many investors sat on the sidelines in the holiday-shortened week.

The won was quoted at 1,171.4 on the dollar, up 0.1 per cent, compared with Wednesday's onshore close of 1,173.1.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds edged up 0.02 points at 109.60.

REUTERS